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Early Elections Coming to Israel

Via HaaretzNetanyahu’s Likud moves to dissolve Knesset ahead of early Israel elections

Israel’s political arena has been abuzz with the likelihood of elections being moved up from their due 2013 date, with one possible cause for holding early elections is the controversial Tal Law, which exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from mandatory military service.

The law, which the High Court of Justice declared unconstitutional in February, is to expire in August, compelling the government to deal with the explosive issue.

Earlier Wednesday, political sources cited Speaker Reuven Rivlin as saying that the parliament could disperse within two weeks, adding that a bill calling for the dissolution of the Knesset will arrive at the parliament’s floor on Monday, and could be vetted the following Tuesday or Wednesday.

If that indeed happens, the Knesset could dissolve that following Sunday, May 13.

Rivlin added that the various parties have not been able to reach an agreement as to the date of the new elections, with estimates putting it at either August 28 or September 4.

The Jerusalem Post reports on early polling:

The Likud would have 31 seats in the next Knesset, with Kadima dropping from largest to fifth-largest faction at only 10 seats, a Dahaf Institute poll sponsored by the Knesset Channel showed Wednesday.

According to the poll, Labor will be the second-largest faction with 17 seats, followed by Yisrael Beytenu with 13 and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party with 12.

In addition, 62 percent of Israelis do not think an election is necessary, and only 27% say an early vote would be for the good of the country.

In regards to the law noted above:

Meanwhile, Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon pointed out an unexpected result of an early election: The “Tal Law,” which expires on July 31, will be automatically extended if the Knesset is not in session.

Yinon’s legal opinion came in a response to a letter from MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), who has fought to keep the Tal Law, which allows haredi (ultra- Orthodox) yeshiva students to defer IDF service indefinitely, even though the High Court of Justice ordered that it not be renewed.

Finding alternatives to the law has been a major political issue in recent months, and is likely to be the center of several parties’ campaigns.

The Tal Law will not be canceled until after a new government is formed, following the election. Elections may be held 94 days to five months after the Knesset is dissolved, and it can take up to 100 days after the vote to form a coalition. Therefore, the Tal Law will remain intact for at least six months and up to eight months.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. sam says:

    How does judicial review work over there? If the high court found the Tal law unconstitutional, it doesn’t appear to have had any effect.

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  2. with one possible cause for holding early elections is the controversial Tal Law, which exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from mandatory military service.

    Not suprisingly, those same ultra-Orthodox are the groups most consistantly calling for military action against Palestinians and Arabs. Apparently chickenhawk is kosher.

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  3. @sam:

    Netanyahu frequently ignores court rulings that aren’t in line with his policy agenda. The court has also repeatedly ruled that settlers in the West Bank are illegally stealing land from Palestinians and ordered it returned to the rightful owners, but the Netanyahu government refuses to enforce any of these orders.

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  4. StephenS says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Not necessarily the case, and in fact this over generalization is damning not only to your image as a learned individual, but to the debate as well.

    “As for the Palestinians, leading Orthodox Jewish Bible scholars believe they are the descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12).”

    In fact, most orthodox Jews rejected the formation of the “Zionist” state post WWII. And continue to be at odds with the social norms/ political atmosphere of Israel to this day.

    Many Orthodox Jews reject the state because they see it as engaging in wars for political interests… The Orthodox people of Israel are willing to accept war, or even struggle if infringed upon, but this by no means makes them “hawks” or “chicken hawks”…

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  5. @StephenS:

    “As for the Palestinians, leading Orthodox Jewish Bible scholars believe they are the descendants of Amalek, the grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12).”

    Yes, and that’s part of the problem, as the bible also repeatedly says that God has commanded the Israelites to exterminate the Amalekites:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalek#Commandments_to_exterminate_Amalekites

    Not exactly a group likely to support the peace process.

    The Orthodox people of Israel are willing to accept war, or even struggle if infringed upon, but this by no means makes them “hawks” or “chicken hawks”…

    Yes, but they also believe they have a right to all of Biblical Israel, which is significantly larger than even the current occupied area. Orthodox settlers have been responsible for much of the problems in the West Bank in recent years. Since they believe the land is rightly theirs, they have no problem with forcibly driving Palestinians off their land and taking it over, regardless of what the courts say about the matter.

    In this sense, they keep provoking the situations that require the IDF to keep getting into military conflicts with the Palestinians and the surrounded countries, but refuse to actually participate in that defense. That’s pretty much the quintessential Chickenhawk to me.

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  6. StephenS says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yes, war for territory is apart of many religions around the world. But prior to WWII Orthodox Jews lived in “Palestine” in relative peace. The historical hiccup you are not accounting for, and then lumping all “ultra orthodox” Jews together is the reform after the 67′ Arab Israeli war. Following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, most orthodox Jews who previously had resisted Zionism adopted the belief that Israel’s overwhelming victory in the war was a sign of God’s support, and a fulfillment of God’s promise to bring about the Messianic era…. This created a divide of “ultra orthodox” Jews, some of which went the way of the state, and state enforcement of sovereignty… MOST did not. This is the point “because SOME orthodox Jews relish the role of the IDF, it does not mean all do…This is the generalization I was speaking of.

    Ill be in Israel in a couple of months… Lets ask them ourselves ;)
    (Note* Israel is far more diverse in beliefs than we give it credit for, look at the marches the Orthodox put on where 100,000 people show up to SUPPORT segregation of Orthodox and non-orthodox Jews in Schools)… lol. Religion, its a hell of a drug.

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  7. PJ says:

    @StephenS:

    Israel is far more diverse in beliefs than we give it credit for, look at the marches the Orthodox put on where 100,000 people show up to SUPPORT segregation of Orthodox and non-orthodox Jews in Schools

    Well, lots of white people SUPPORTED being segregated too…

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