JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed discussion of extending a law for five more years that allows yeshiva students to delay their military service.
Netanyahu said in a statement issued from his office Wednesday that he will talk about the length of the extension of the Tal Law with his coalition and then submit a proposal to his Cabinet.
On Monday, Netanyahu said he would ask the Cabinet to extend the law, which was adopted 10 years ago to allow haredi Orthodox students to delay military service and then make the transition to a shorter service, for five more years.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the same day called for the law to be extended for one more year, saying the law “has failed to live up to our expectations," while lawmakers came up with a different solution.
In 2011, 2,361 haredi men enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and national service, a 40 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. The numbers have tripled since 2008.
The Tal Law allows yeshiva students older than 22 to take a year off their studies for professional training without being drafted. In doing so they must commit to a shorter army service or a year of national service, or return to yeshiva studies.