Last night, the Council of Torah Sages of the United Torah Judaism party approved the proposal by MK Yaakov Litzman whereby the amendment to the Conscription Law, a private amendment by MK Yoav Ben Tzur of the Shas party, will be raised in the ministerial legislation committee this morning and will immediately enter the legislative process in the Knesset plenum - for first reading only at this stage.
The approval means that for the time being the haredi (ultra-Orthodox Jewish) parties are foregoing their demand that the amended Conscription Law should pass all three readings in the Knesset and become law in parallel to the passing of the state budget. Under the agreement between Litzman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the first reading of the Conscription Law amendment will take place in the Knesset before the vote on the budget. Ben Tzur's bill will pass second and third readings in the summer session of the Knesset, before the deadline for regularizing the exemption from military service for yeshiva students set by the High Court of Justice.
In the political arena, everyone is now waiting to see whether Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, who has been vocally critical of the haredi parties' demands, will give his consent to the agreement between Netanyahu and Litzman. Liberman is likely to reserve the right to abstain from the voting on the amendment, but will presumably be asked not to vote against it, in order to enable the rest of Likud's coalition partners - Kulanu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Habayit Hayehudi - to pass the law at first reading.
If Liberman agrees, the coalition will proceed later this week to the vote on the 2019 state budget, and the political crisis, in its present version, will be over.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 12, 2018
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