Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu emphasized Sunday that everyone must perform some form of national service and that those who do not will face negative consequences.
The new law, to replace the Tal Law, must change the current reality by raising the number of people who serve, Netanyahu told a Likud faction meeting, adding that it "must be done responsibly in order to preserve national unity."
"Everyone needs to carry the (national service) burden," he said. "We will provide positive incentives to those who serves and negative ones to those who evade service."
"The issue is finally being addressed 64 years after it was not dealt with properly," the prime minister said. The new legislation, he added, will represent a historic change.
Also at the meeting, MK Danny Danon said that full national service must be required of Israeli Arabs if the Plesner Committee recommendations on universal service are to be accepted.
Danon accused Mofaz of committing political blackmail with the committee's recommendations in order to benefit Kadima's Arab voters.
On Saturday, Netanyahu indicated that he is willing to accommodate Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz’s demands to implement the findings of the Keshev Committee in order to keep him in the coalition.
If Likud MKs agree to the central points made by the Keshev Committee – created to recommend a replacement for the “Tal Law” – Netanyahu will meet with Mofaz to discuss the team that will draft the new bill to increase equality in the burden of service.
The prime minister’s announcement came despite the fact that he tried to dissolve the Keshev Committee, led by MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima), last week. The Kadima lawmaker presented his findings on Wednesday, and Mofaz insisted that the bill to replace the Tal Law be based on Plesner’s report.
Likud’s discussion of the report is “a step in the right direction,” a source close to Mofaz told The Jerusalem Post.
“Adopting the principles of the Plesner report is a condition for progress [in cooperation with Kadima],” the source explained. “Once they accept that, we can draft the bill.”
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.