Early Elections Coming to Israel
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.