Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday night slammed Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s response to the Keshev Committee’s recommendations on how to
equalize the burden of IDF service, in a bad sign for the continuation of their
Netanyahu intends to begin shuttle diplomacy
with all the heads of the parties in his coalition, including Mofaz, on
Thursday, in an effort to draft legislation on the service of haredim and Arabs
by the August 1 deadline set by the High Court of Justice.
recommendations today include important principles and go in the right
direction, but a more solid response is needed, especially on the issue of
Arabs,” Netanyahu said. “My intention is to bring a combined bill to bring about
a large rise in haredi and Arab service that can pass in the Knesset and be
The prime minister warned that he would not allow the
continuation of the current situation in which those who serve and those who do
not have the same status.
“We’re standing before a historic change in
Israeli society,” he said. “Evaders will no longer get what those who serve
Sources close to Mofaz expressed frustration that Netanyahu did
not address the issue of personal sanctions for ultra-Orthodox draft-evaders,
and said he focused too much on Arabs.
Denouncing Netanyahu’s statement
as “empty political spin,” they said the gaps between the Likud and Kadima on
the issue were very wide.
“The prime minister’s message avoids the
supreme challenge of the illegality and the injustice of exemptions for the
entire haredi sector,” Mofaz said. “The citizens of Israel expected clear
explanations from the prime minister. Those who serve expected decisive
leadership and historic and effective justice, and it looks like they didn’t get
it. This is the time for action and not words, for decisions and not
Mofaz’s associates said the prime minister failed the test
that the vice premier presented him at a Kadima faction meeting seven hours
earlier, in which he said Netanyahu adopting Keshev’s principles was a condition
for Kadima remaining in the government.
“We won’t be able to look our
children in the eye otherwise,” Mofaz said. “The ball is in the PM’s hands, and
it’s a matter of days.”
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich mocked Mofaz’s
speech, calling it “yet another embarrassing moment in his embarrassing
connection with Bibi.”
“Mofaz has proven you cannot believe a single word
that comes out of his mouth,” she said.
In a sign that Netanyahu’s goals
can be reached, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, who is in
charge of the National Service Authority, told a gathering organized by Habayit
Hayehudi Knesset candidates Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz in Jerusalem on
Wednesday night that there has been a huge rise in the number of Arabs and
haredim performing national service.