Tensions between the Likud and Kadima heightened over the weekend over the issue
of drafting haredim into national service. Sources close to Vice Premier and
Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz were quoted as saying that if Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu does not pass a law meeting Kadima’s criteria they will leave
Kadima and Mofaz are insisting that the new legislation
mandate personal financial sanctions against anyone refusing to serve, possibly
including the revocation of housing benefits, municipal taxes and other welfare
allotments, which many members of the ultra- Orthodox community
Netanyahu is said to be reluctant to concede to these terms,
concerned about the future political ramifications of alienating the haredi
“We’re not afraid to return to the opposition but we
are not threatening yet,” sources close to Mofaz were quoted as saying on Friday
following a meeting between the Kadima leader and the prime minister.
can’t pass a bill without Kadima so the prime minister has to decide between a
covenant with haredim and being everyone’s PM. We call the sanctions personal
responsibility,” the source continued.
“The entire process depends on
there being personal responsibility on the individual.”
figures in Likud accused Kadima and Mofaz of seeking to drive a wedge between
their party and Yisrael Beytenu.
One source was quoted as saying that
Kadima was trying to get Yisrael Beytenu to leave the coalition in order to free
up the Foreign Ministry for Mofaz, and accused the Vice Premier of reneging on a
“clear agreement” that Israeli-Arabs would be included in the terms of a law
mandating an obligatory national service draft for all.
Committee, established to draw up proposals for a new law, announced on Thursday
that it would not recommend an obligatory draft for Arab citizens, a move which
led Yisrael Beytenu and Habayit Hayehudi to cease cooperation with the
Netanyahu is however insisting that Arabs be included in the
terms of the new law for obligatory service.
On Thursday, Netanyahu
warned members of the Keshev Committee that unless it instituted mandatory
national service for the Arab sector, he might decide not to bring the
committee’s recommendations to the Knesset for a vote.
Speaking at a
cultural event in Ness Tziona on Shabbat, Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson expressed
opposition to any draft legislation that does not include obligatory service for
Arabs, as well as all other sectors of society.
“If there will not be
[obligatory] service for all from age 18, including Arabs, I will vote against
the recommendations of the [Keshev] committee,” he said.
Kadima provided Netanyahu with the support to “to create a new civil order,”
dialogue with the Palestinians and reform to the political and electoral
“If he does not prove he’s working towards these goals, we will
need to expose his true intentions to the public,” Hasson warned.Gil
Hoffman contributed to this report.
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