Minister Against Exemption for the Ultra-Orthodox

The first minister comes out against the exemption law: "Not in my vote."

Minister Amichai Shikli spoke out against the proposal to enact a Basic Law for Torah Study and announced that he will not vote in favor of such a law. He also opposed comparing Torah students to military servicemen in the law.

( Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister Amichai Shikli speaks out against the proposed Basic Law for Torah Study that was raised in the Knesset and expresses opposition to its enactment.

The proposed Basic Law for Torah Study, which was published earlier today, has caused a media and political storm, including an attack on the coalition, the proposed wording of the law, and its timing.

The proposed law stipulates that Torah study will become a constitutional value in the State of Israel, and Torah students will be entitled to equal status comparable to military servicemen.

Now the first minister in the government comes out against the enactment of the law and declares that he will not support it if it comes to a vote.

Minister Amichai Shikli published a message on Twitter in which he wrote: "Torah study is a supreme value for the people of Israel that has never required legislation, and it should remain so. The imposition of this law proposal on the Knesset's table is a harmful and untimely farce, and the comparison to military service is not relevant, not appropriate, and will not be – not in my voice."

The message comes after the wording of the law and its timing generated much anger among segments of the public and the political system. Among those who opposed the coalition was the former Chief of Staff, Member of Knesset Gadi Eisenkot, who criticized the coalition for the law proposal and said: "The submission of the Basic Law for Torah Study or in its real name 'The Draft Evasion Law,' following the disgraceful decision the government made last month to exempt yeshiva students from conscription, constitutes a severe blow to the IDF. The Zionist and patriotic elements in and outside the Knesset must act together to replace the most evil government in the history of Israel."

This is not the first time Minister Shikli has come out against the attempt by Haredi Knesset members to equate Torah students with soldiers, and he has even threatened in the past to bring down the government if they proceed in this direction.

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