Beilin Proposes Bill to Overturn Mandatory Military Service Law

Meretz Chair convinced optional enlistment would not diminish scope of recruits; bill aimed at allowing yeshiva students to join the workforce.

Meretz Chair Yossi Beilin will bring before the Knesset for a preliminary reading next week a bill overturning the mandatory military service law.

Beilin believes his proposal would solve the problem of postponing mandatory service for ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students who are exempt from the mandatory service under the Tal Law.

The Tal law allows yeshiva students over age 22 to take one year off from their studies. During this period, they can acquire a profession or work without being drafted. At the end of the year, the students must choose between returning to full-time studies or completing abbreviated national service.

Beilin argues that if the mandatory service law is overturned, the yeshiva students would be exempt from service without requiring the authorization of a yeshiva head, thus allowing them to join the workforce if they decide not to serve in the military, rather than being bound by law to continue studying in the yeshiva.

Beilin is convinced that making military service optional would not diminish the scope of the current recruits, citing high motivation to serve in the military among Israel's youth. However, Beilin's proposal allows the military to temporarily reinstate the mandatory draft in the case of diminished enlistment.