Knesset Legal Advisor: Early Elections Will Extend Tal Law Struck Down by High Court

Basic law of the Knesset requires that so-called Tal Law, which regulates Haredi enlistment to the IDF, be extended until the new Knesset is into its third month.

Moving up Israel's general elections will automatically extend the law regulating Haredi enlistment to the Israel Defense Forces, the Knesset's legal adviser said in a legal opinion on Wednesday.

The remarks by Eyal Yinon were made in response to an appeal by United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni, and came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party submitted a Knesset dissolution bill to be voted on in the parliament next week.

Supreme Court - Olivier Fitoussi
Supreme Court Justice Yoram Dantzinger, President Asher Grunis, and Justice Noam Sohlberg.Olivier Fitoussi

Israel's political arena has been abuzz with the likelihood of elections being moved up from their due date on 2013, with one possible cause for holding early elections being the controversial Tal Law, which exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from mandatory military service.

The law, which the High Court of Justice declared unconstitutional in February, is to expire in August, compelling the government to deal with the explosive issue.

Speaking later Wednesday, Knesset legal advisor Yinon said that the Knesset's dissolution will automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new Knesset, according to clause 38 of the Basic Law: The Knesset.

In his released opinion, Yinon explained that "despite the problematic situation, in which a law ruled unconstitutional by the High Court will remain in the rule book, a result of said clause 38," adding that such a move would leave the issue of ultra-Orthodox enlistment "in a normative vacuum without legal definition."

"Even though the court ruled the law in its current form is unconstitutional, it assumed that the legislature will legislate a new law in its stead, one that would apply to the ruling's points," the Knesset adviser said.

Haredi soldier - Alex Levac.
Haredi man at an IDF recruitment center.Alex Levac

Yinon added that with the Knesset's dissolution, many legislative processes will be halted, meaning that "it would not be practically possible to act in full accordance with the ruling and legislate a law that would answer the mentioned faults," especially in light of the sensitivity and complexity of the issue.