Hesder yeshiva (file)
Hesder yeshiva (file) Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved on Sunday a bill regulating the legal status of students in Zionist yeshivas, including the hesder yeshivas.

The approval means that the Zionist yeshiva students need not worry about being adversely affected by the expiration of the Tal Law that regulates yeshiva students' status, with regard to army service.

The bill was authored by MKs Zevulun Orlev and Uri Orbach of the Jewish Home, and Yariv Levin of Likud.

MK Orlev explained that the Zionist yeshivas must not find themselves "being held as hostages" as a result of the disagreements between the state and the hareidi leadership regarding enlistment of Torah scholars. If agreement is not reached in that dispute, the Tal Law will run out and Zionist yeshivas may have to close down.

The bill "will make a distinction between yeshivas that serve in the IDF and those that do not serve but rather shirk service," he said. "For us it is a privilege to enlist and serve in the IDF and we do not want our yeshiva students to be hurt because of a political dispute."

Jewish Home Chairman, Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, noted that the Zionist yeshivas boast very high rates of enlistment and service as officers.

Shas Minister Meshulam Nahari objected to the bill, and said that there was no reason to solve "one sector's problems" from those of the others. Shas voted against the bill but a majority in the committee voted in favor, on the condition that the government also approves it.

Bills approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation enjoy coalition support and usually pass in the Knesset.