Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and MK Yohanan Plesner of Kadima met Sunday to discuss the first draft of the new universal conscription law.
The legislation that comes out of their discussions is expected to replace the outgoing Tal Law, which for 10 years provided ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students with a framework for exemption from service. The measure was struck down by the High Court earlier this year as unconstitutional.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hopes to move the new bill forward as early as next week.
Plesner had headed a committee to draft the new legislation before Netanyahu dissolved the panel early last week. Plesner released the committee’s recommendations on Wednesday, against the prime minister’s wishes, and in the end Netanyahu said his Likud party would support much of those recommendations.
Over the next two days, Ya’alon and Plesner are expected to complete the universal draft proposal on the basis of the findings of the Plesner committee’s report and present it to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
The team was selected earlier Sunday by Netanyahu together with Kadima head Shaul Mofaz.
Before the meeting, Ya’alon told reporters that the bill’s goal should be to promote unity and equality.
“We are facing a historic opportunity to cure the bleeding wound at the heart of Israeli society — lack of civic and economic equality,” he said. “We are serious about formulating over the next few days the law that should express the historical moment while preventing ruptures in our society. The unity of the people is a crucial part of our national fortitude.”
Plesner said he welcomed Netanyahu’s decision to adopt the principles of the report.
“A lot of work has gone into it, by all the relevant ministries. The principles are all there. We seek a national solution, responsible and balanced,” he said. “The process will take about two days, and all the necessary adjustments to the legislation will be made in the coming days. There is progress but there are many question marks. I hope over the next two or three days they will become exclamation marks.”
In his weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Netanyahu promised the new legislation to replace the Tal Law would mark a substantive change.
“What was is not what will be. Neither the state nor the military nor the society can go on in the current course,” he said.
The only change introduced by the Likud MKs to the recommendations issued last week by the Plesner Committee was a clause addressing conscription to national service by Arab Israelis, requested by the right-wing faction of the party.
Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said Sunday that his party continues to demand that all Israelis, including Arabs, are drafted into either military or national service at age 18.