A Just Society Begins with an Equal Society

Below is a translation of Yisrael Beytenu’s proposed replacement of the Tal Law, requiring every Israeli citizen to serve in either the IDF or national civilian service.

The Eighteenth Knesset


MK David Rotem

Moshe Matalon

Robert Ilatov

Anastassia Michaeli

Hamad Amar

Lia Shemtov

Faina Kirshenbaum

Alex Miller

Orly Levy Abekasis

פ / 4238/18


IDF or National Civilian Service Law Proposal – 2012 (5772)

 Part 1: Principles of the Duty to Serve

Purposes of the Law:

The purposes set forth below are among the purposes of this law proposal:

(1) The promise of equal sharing of the burden of service among the State’s citizens;

(2) The establishment of a system in which every citizen will serve in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), national or civilian service;

(3) The recognition of Torah study in yeshivot as an important value in the State of Israel and the establishment of a program that combines learning and service;

(4) The recognition of equal burden-sharing as an important value in the State of Israel;

(5) The establishment of a state service option, taking into account the nature of the various sectors in Israel and assuring the ability to maintain the provisions of various religions and their customs while serving.


2. In this law proposal  -

“The Joint Committee” – A joint committee between the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense and the Committee of Constitution, Law and Justice;

“The Law of Defense Service” – The Defense Service Law [Consolidated Version], 1986 (5746);

“Soldier” – Every member of the standing forces of the IDF under the Defence Service Law;

“Pre-academic Mechina” – An institution that prepares citizens for academic studies or allows them to complete their secondary education and take the matriculation exams;

“IDF Orders” – As defined by the IDF Jurisdiction Law, 1955 (5715);

“Civilian Service” – Community service in institutions for the absorption of new immigrants, health care, institutions for the elderly population, nursing homes, welfare departments in local authorities, fire services, the Israel Police Force, Environmental Protection and volunteer organizations;

“National Service” – national service under paragraph (3) (b) the definition of “child” in section 238 of the National Insurance Law [Consolidated Version], 1995 (5755);

“IDF Service” – as defined by the Security Service;

 ”The Minister” – Minister of Defense.

Part B: Mandatory Service

The Duty to Serve

3.(A) All citizens or permanent residents have  the duty to serve his/her country.

(B) Whoever cannot serve in the standing army on health or other grounds, as established by the government and the Joint Committee, will serve the state in national or civilian service.

)C) One who has served in national or civilian service under the provisions of this law for the period stipulated in section 15 (1) or 16 (1) of the Security Service Law, shall be exempt from compulsory IDF service.

)D) When called for national or civilian service, one must report for duty and fulfill the service asked of him/her.

Part Three: Exemptions from Service

Exemption from Civilian Service

The following will not be called to serve in the civilian service:

(1) A person who is not qualified for medical reasons;

(2) A married or pregnant woman;

(3) Anyone whom the Minister or someone appointed for this purpose has determined shall not serve, in accordance with the  standards prescribed by the Minister with the approval of the government and the Joint Committee.

Part Four: Call for Civilian Service and Service Areas

Call for Civilian Service

5. An Israeli citizen or permanent resident who has not been called for IDF service under the Defense Service Law or was called for IDF service and received an exemption – is obligated to serve in the civilian service

Duration of Civilian Service

6. (A) The duration of civilian service shall be as provided in section 15 (1) or 16 (1) of the Security Service, as applicable.

(B) Civilian service will be carried out at a minimum of 5 days per week and eight hours per day.

)C) One who has completed a minimum of 24 months of civilian service, will be called to serve a maximum of ten days of civilian service annually until the age of 45.

Civilian Service Areas

 7. (A) Civilian service will be carried out in: state institutions, local authorities, public bodies and volunteer organizations prescribed by the Minister, according to criteria prescribed by the regulations concerning the size of the organization and the ability for oversight and supervision of the service.

(B) Civilian service will include, wherever possible, activities and occupations that would not be carried out otherwise and will not harm any permanent employees in the institution where the civilian service is being carried out.

Part 5: Terms of Service

Compensation for IDF Service

8. A soldier who has served more than 24 months will be entitled to full funding of mechina (preacademic) studies or full funding of the first academic year at an institution of higher education for up two years from the end of his/her IDF service.

Salaries, Allowances and Conditions of Service

 9. (A) The salary of one serving in the civilian service will be equal to that of one serving in the IDF.

)B) One serving his/her final year in the IDF, national, or civilian service shall be entitled to complete his/her secondary education and complete his/her matriculation in the course of the final year of service.

Housing and Economics

10. One serving in the civilian service is eligible for a food and housing allowance during his/her service, according to the rules and criteria prescribed by the regulations.

Travel Expenses

 11. (A) One serving in the IDF is exempt from public transport fares.

)B) The provisions of section 3 of the national Service (TOS in the National Service) Act, 1998 (5758) shall apply to civil service position, mutatis mutandis.

Benefits after Service

12. Any benefit given to those who served in the IDF or national service will be even given to those who served in civilian service for a period that is not less than the period of IDF service under section 15 (1) or 16 (1) of the Security Service, as applicable.

Part 6: Yeshivot Hesder (Institutions of Torah study that have an arrangement with the Israeli Defense Force)

Studying at a Yeshivat Hesder

 13. (A) In this section -

Yeshivat Hesder” – An institution of Torah study for  those serving an integrated service that is recognized by the Association of Yeshivot Hesder, according to the standards set by the Minister;

“Integrated Service” – IDF service that combines a period or periods of active IDF service and periods of study in a yeshivat hesder under conditions of service without pay.

)B) One who has completed his military service may serve an integrated service on condition that his  application was approved under the rules set forth in IDF orders.

(C) One whose application to serve an integrated service in the IDF has been approved will be called to serve a period not less than that to which he is liable under the Security Service, plus an additional 12 months.

)D) The Minister shall prescribe the rules to carry out integrated service and the standards for approval under this section.

Part 7: General Provisions

Civilian Service Authority

14. (A) This law hereby establishes a Civilian Service Authority in the Prime Minister’s Office that will oversee budgetary allocation and coordinate the resources required by the purposes of the Civilian Service Law, including monitoring its implementation.

)B) The Prime Minister is in charge of this section, and shall prescribe regulations for its implementation, with the approval of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Indicators and Targets for the Implementation of the Law

15. Within three months of the implementation of this law, the Minister will determine the IDF and civilian service  recruitment goals, so that within five years from the commencement of the law every citizen and permanent resident of  Israel over the age of 18 will serve the State of Israel.

Denial of Entitlements

16. Any citizen who is obligated under this act and who has not fulfilled his/her duty of service shall not be entitled to a state pension, grant or discount provided by any law to an Israeli citizen, including the right to obtain a mortgage from the state and the purchase of land rights from the state.

Amendment of the Security Service

17. Defense Service Law [Consolidated Version], 1986 (5746), the following shall be added after section 36:

“Deferral and Exemption for Yeshiva Students

36b. (A) The Minister of Defense may postpone one’s presentation for IDF service for the sake of Jewish religious studies.

)B) The Minister of Defense may exempt from IDF service an outstanding yeshiva student, upon the recommendation of the Rosh Yeshiva (Yeshiva head master).

(C) The number of service deferrals and exemptions granted under this section shall not exceed a thousand per year.

Deferrals and Exemptions for Outstanding Students, Athletes and Artists

36C The Defense Minister may exempt or grant a deferral from IDF service to outstanding students at universities, outstanding athletes and outstanding artists, provided that the number of exemptions and deferrals under this section not exceed one thousand per year”.

Overturning of the Deferral Law for Long-term Yeshiva Students

18. The Deferral of Service Act for Long-term Yeshiva students of 2002 (5762) is hereby overturned.

Implementation and Regulations

19. The Defense Minister is in charge of this act and shall, with the approval of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, prescribe regulations for its implementation, including the modes of the summoning and selecting those who serve in the civilian service.

Explanatory Notes

Serving in the IDF, along with its being an army of the people, is a sine qua non for Israel’s existence. This law proposal prevents draft dodging and creates a situation in which those who cannot serve in the IDF can serve instead in the civilian or national service.  This bill applies to all citizens of Israel: Jews, Muslims and Christians, as well as to religious, Ultra-orthodox .

The idea that Torah study somehow forbids seeking employment or justifies deferring IDF service is incompatible with the Jewish faith.  Maimonides explicitly states: “Anyone who decides that he will occupy himself with Torah and will not do any work profanes the Name of God, degrades the Torah, extinguishes the light of religion, hurts himself, and removes his life from the world to come – for it is forbidden to derive any benefit from matters of Torah in this world” (The Laws of Torah Study 3)

Therefore, it is proposed that every citizen be obligated to serve the State of Israel. Anyone serving a complete term of civilian service, will be exempted from IDF service. Conditions and terms during and after the term of service will be comparable to the terms of those who served in the national service, whose terms are regulated by legislation.

The law states that whoever does not present him/herself for national service – whether it be IDF service or civilian service, is not eligible for any allowance, grant or any payment from the state. This purpose of this section is to prevent those who evade service from relying on state funding.

This bill proposes that the duration of civilian service be parallel to that of IDF service and that civilian service be carried out in state and public bodies and for public purposes.

It is further proposed to allow a maximum of one thousand per year of exemptions and deferrals granted to long-term yeshiva students, in order to continue the cultivation of prodigies among yeshiva students in the spirit of the historic arrangement described above.

This bill proposes to establish a Civilian Service Authority that will be part of the Prime Minister’s Office and under his/her direct responsibility.  The Civilian Service Authority’s budgetary allocation should enable it to fulfill the purpose of law and supervise its implementation.

The authority for the execution of the law will be entrusted to the Minister of Defense, who shall make regulations with regard to ways of implementation of the law.

Similar bills have been tabled in the 16th Knesset  by MK Gila Gamliel (P / 90), by MK Eliezer Cohen and a group of Knesset Members (D / 1537 and D / 2381), by MK Ilan Shalgi and a group of Knesset Members (D / 1761), by MK Naomi Blumenthal and a group of Knesset Members (D / 1865), by MK Danny Yatom and a group of Knesset Members (D / 1950), by MK Matan Vilnai and Amram Mitzna (D / 2091 ), by MK Eliezer Cohen (D / 2972), and by MKs Danny Yatom and Ehud Yatom (D / 3303), and in the 17th Knesset by MK Matan Vilnai (P / 644/17), by MK Danny Yatom (D / 1276/17) and by MK Isaac Ben-Israel (D / 3195/17), and in the 18th Knesset by MK Yoel Hasson (P / 113/18) (the proposal was removed from the Knesset agenda on Jan. 19, 2011), by MK Eitan Cabel (D / 1045/18), by MK Moshe  Matalon and a group of Knesset Members (D / 2007/18) , by MK Miri Regev (D / 2052/18), by MK Tzipi Hotovely (D / 2177/18), by MK Othniel Schneller (D / 2554/18) by MK Einat Wilf ( D / 4038/18) and by MK Tzipi Livni (D / 4137/18); Very similar bills were submitted to the 18th Knesset by MK Yoel Hasson (P / 3149/18) and by MK Nachman Shai and a group of Knesset Members (P / 3742/18) and removed from its agenda on February 22, 2012.


Submitted to the Knesset Speaker and Deputies

And was submitted to the Knesset on April 27, 2012 (27 Adar, 5772)


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