Justice Minister: Implementation of Tal Law 'Unsatisfactory'

Justice Ministry Tzipi Livni believes the Tal Law, which has yet to be fully implemented, does not provide an adequate solution on the matter of drafting yeshiva students into the military, according to a letter written two months ago to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

In the letter, which was revealed Tuesday after it was added to a notice from the State Attorney's Office to the High Court of Justice, Livni wrote that the Tal Law, which regulates the arrangement by which yeshiva students receive military service deferral on the grounds that Torah study is their sole vocation, has not been sufficiently implemented.

"The implementation of the Tal Law is unsatisfactory, to say the least," Livni wrote. "There's a need for an immediate change in the current situation."

Nearly four months ago, the last time the prime minister convened a discussion on the implementation of the Tal Law, it was agreed that Livni would prepare a proposal that would "create an appropriate military track for yeshiva students who choose to do military service at the end of the decision year that the Tal Law grants them."

During the last High Court hearing of four petitions calling for the abolition of the law two and a half months ago, it was revealed that despite the fact the law has been in effect three years, only 1,115 of the 41,450 yeshiva students covered by the arrangement have taken the "decision year" provided by the law, and of these only 31 enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces.