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MK Chetboun Slams High Court's Yeshiva Sanctions

Jewish Home MK says judges must realize that legislation is the responsibility of elected representatives, not theirs.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/5/2014, 5:54 PM

MK Yoni Chetboun
MK Yoni Chetboun
Israel news photo: Flash 90

MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) attacked the decision of the High Court Wednesday, to serve an interim injunction on the stipends paid out to yeshiva students who have postponed their service. He also commented on what he called “threats” being made by the Yesh Atid party and the current coalition disagreements, saying: “Some like to shout threats and slogans in order to garner favourable headlines, while others prefer to actually effect meaningful, systemic change and improvement to our society.”

The Defense Minister had already deferred the draft for tens of thousands of students until the committee led by MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) finishes deliberations and votes on a comprehensive bill, but following a motion put forth by several NGOs, the court granted a temporary injunction Tuesday to prohibit the State from transferring funds to the yeshivot, for those students who were supposed to be drafted from August 2013.

MK Chetboun attacked the injunction vehemently, saying: “Serving the country holds a special place in the constellation of our values, but make no mistake, studying Torah is no less important. Members of Knesset from all over the political spectrum have labored night and day to come to a balanced, sensitive solution that takes into account all of these values. The Court has absented itself from its responsibility. The time has come for the Court to realize that legislation is advanced and decided upon by elected officials, and not by an unaccountable judiciary.”

Following comments from leading figures in Yesh Atid, Chetboun responded that “those who prefer to make political capital by grabbing headlines, as opposed to engaging in meaningful discussion and solving questions at the source.” In addition Chetboun clarified, “It is impossible to effect meaningful change with a sledgehammer, it’s not responsible and it will backfire entirely."

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid commended the Court's decision"There's equality in obligations and rights, there's no such thing as exclusion from the law," insisted Lapid. "Everyone is equal before the law, and we insist on that. The law (mandating IDF service) was passed in the government and in the Knesset; the Supreme Court is just reminding us that it's the law."

The "threats" Chetboun was referring to apparently include Lapid's recent vow to bolt the Coalition if there is no progress in "peace talks" with the Palestinian Authority (PA). He has also warned that Israel's economy will suffer if the talks fail.