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Nrp Modifies Stand on Military Service for Yeshiva Students

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The National Religious Party’s Central Committee meeting as a “convention” here last night, modified two controversial resolutions adopted by the NRP’s national convention earlier this month. A resolution which supported compulsory military service for yeshiva students, presently exempt, was replaced by one that encourages the formation of a system at yeshivot that would incorporate the study of Torah and military training “in such a way as fits the tasks of our generation.”

The Central Committee also softened a convention resolution that made the NRP’s joining any future coalition government conditional on the amendment of the Law of Return to stipulate that conversions to Judaism must be according to halacha. The resolution adopted last night stated that “the present condition must be amended” but did not demand amendment of the law. It added that NRP representatives in the government and the Knesset will not be able to share responsibility for the “defective law” and will consent to join the next Cabinet on condition that the present situation is amended so that no one is registered as a Jew unless he is a Jew according to halacha.

The altered phrasing allows the NRP a wide area for maneuvering in coalition negotiations but does not prevent it from joining the government even if the law is not amended. By a narrow majority of 51-49, the Central Committee defeated a proposal by the NRP’s younger circles to rotate party representatives in the government, Knesset and other official bodies. Under the original proposal, office holders would have been permitted to serve only three consecutive terms. The proposal would have deprived most veteran NRP leaders of seats in the next Cabinet and Knesset.

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