Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz on Friday denied the veracity of a statement released by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the two leaders had agreed on the establishment of a new committee tasked with increasing minority participation in the IDF.
"There will be no new committees," Mofaz insisted. "The main findings of the [Keshev] Committee are the only relevant findings, on only their basis can we move forward."
"After days of negotiations, it seems Netanyahu is unwilling to publicly adopt the [Keshev] Committee's recommendations, and instead wants to create yet another committee," Mofaz said. "The time has come to legislate a new law that would implement real change in equalizing the public burden."
Mofaz's rejection of a new committee deepens the rift between the coalition's
two largest parties, and calls into question whether or not Kadima will remain in the government.
The release of the contradictory statements comes a day before a scheduled mass rally
will be held in Tel Aviv, hosted by the "Camp Sucker" movement, demanding equality in the shouldering of the national burden. At least a dozen different organizations are taking part in the protest, including the National Union of Israeli Students and several groups devoted to religious freedom and helping reservists and discharged soldiers. They will also be joined by the right-of-center extra-parliamentary group “Im Tirtzu.”
The keynote speaker at the event, announced Friday afternoon, will be Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Yuval Diskin, who has supported the movement since it first set up a faux military base at Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov train station nearly six months ago in a call for universal service for all Israelis.
Speaking Friday to Army Radio, Diskin expressed optimism that the movement could achieve its goals. "At the end of the day, Netanyahu's voters are people who participate in carrying the public burden," he said in a challenge to the prime minister. "Netanyahu is cursing the day this issue fell at his doorstep. But in any case, this is his happening under his watch, and I believe that he can implement real and meaningful change on this issue."
The protest, which will be held at 8:30 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Museum plaza, is being headlined “Order 8 – We will stop being suckers!!” in a reference to the “Tzav 8” letters that arrive at homes to inform of upcoming reserve service.
Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid are expected to attend the rally, but no politicians will be allowed to address the crowd. Saturday night’s protest will be the first major protest on the issue in Tel Aviv in recent memory.