Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz said Monday that he believes the government can successfully draft a bill to replace the Tal Law on haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment by the weekend, but reiterated that Kadima would leave the coalition if the effort fails.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner began
drafting a bill Sunday that would equalize the burden of IDF service, in an
effort to bring about what Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a historic
Speaking to Channel 2 news, Mofaz said that progress on the bill is "headed in the right direction," but warned that "until there's an agreement, there is no agreement."
He also said that haredi Jews must be drafted by the age of 22 at the latest, a condition he called a red line.
In an interview with Channel 10 Mofaz added that service "is part of our DNA as Jews."
Plesner and Ya'alon intend to work long hours over the next two days to complete the bill by
Wednesday, get it approved in Sunday’s cabinet meeting and ensure its passage
into law by the time the Knesset’s summer recess begins July 25.
facing a historic opportunity to heal what has been an open wound for
Israeli society,” Ya’alon said before his meeting with Plesner. “We have to use
our brains and avoid exacerbating societal rifts. I hope we will succeed in this
In the meeting, Ya’alon and Plesner tested each other’s
flexibility and red lines. The Likud was pleased to see Plesner compromise on
service for Israeli Arabs, if not in the IDF, then in natiional service, while Kadima officials said the Likud made
concessions on the age when haredim will no longer be able to defer IDF service
for full-time Torah study.
“There has been progress but there are still
many question marks, which I hope within two or three days will become
exclamation marks,” Plesner said.
Netanyahu and Kadima approve the
appointment of the Ya’alon-Plesner task force on Sunday after the Likud faction
agreed unanimously to endorse all of the recommendations of the Keshev Committee
except for its points on Israeli Arabs.
The Likud faction said it saw no
reason to delay the application of the “service for all” principle to the
Israeli Arab population.
Plesner recommended that the application of a
service mandate for this population be implemented gradually.
points addressed and accepted by the Likud faction are: the principle of service
for all Israeli citizens; that serving is a personal responsibility; providing
incentives and rewards for those who serve in the IDF; creating an enforcement
mechanism that will punish those who evade service; and the immediate
implementation of the committee’s recommendations regarding men in the
Gil Hoffman and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.