Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he "regretted" Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz's decision to quit the coalition and "give up the opportunity to make a historic change."

In a letter to Mofaz, the prime minister said, "After 64 years we were very close to  fundamental change in the sharing of the burden, but I explained to you that the only way to implement this is gradually and without causing causing a rift in society."

"I will continue to formulate a responsible solution, just as the citizens of Israel expect," Netanyahu stated. 

Former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni ealier welcomed Kadima's withdrawal from the coalition, saying that "a political partnership that was born in sin is over, and it's good that it's over."

Mofaz announced his party's withdrawal Tuesday evening, stating that he was willing to compromise in negotiations over universal service but there were red lines he was unwilling to cross. Mofaz was speaking to reporters minutes after Kadima voted to leave the coalition over the issue of equalizing the burden, at a faction meeting in Petah Tikva Tuesday evening.

"There are no more fig leaves that will hide the moral failure of this government," said Livni. "I think that it is now clearer than ever, the value of the principles that we have worked for in recent years - I repeatedly emphasized to the public that no good would come of joining a coalition which abandons the public with the issue of the burden of social and economic security, a coalition that would prevent any peace process," Livni continued.   

"With all the pressures to joint the coalition, I will believe that once again it has been proven that there is no place for us to join this government, and a larger part of the public recognizes this only today. Israel is better than this government and its representatives, it must change, and I promise you this will happen," said Livni.  
 
Meanwhile, MKs from all sides of the spectrum responded with favor to Kadima's resignation, for varied reasons.

Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich was joined by Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On and Yesh Atid leader leader Yair Lapid in expressing hope that the move will bring early elections.

"We should do now what should have been done two months ago and go to elections to give the public the right to determine cleanly the issues touching on the future of the State of Israel," Yechimovich said.

Echoing her sentiment, Lapid called on Netanyahu to dissolve the government and call new elections.

"We are ready for elections," he said. "The time has come to remove this bad government from power."

Gal-On joined the chorus of voices, critical of Mofaz, but hopeful that the move will spell out a shorter life span for the government.

"Mofaz, who joined the coalition with great fanfare and promises, is suggesting his party now leave it, with no achievements, with a weak, humble voice," Gal-On said.

Danny Danon, the only Likud MK who opposed Kadima's entry to the coalition, said "the time has come to put an end to the party - void of values and backbone - that is called Kadima."

"Kadima is a political corpse, that will disappear from the pages of history, just as fast as it was created," he added.

"Mofaz decided to play survival in the Knesset," Danon continued. "Having already been pronounced a political corpse along with his party, he received two months of immunity and entered the coalition. .. and now he is finally being ousted."     

Focusing on the matter at hand, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Haredim will be drafted to the IDF in August when the Tal Law expires, following the failure to reach an agreement over the issue.

"During the next three months the Defense Ministry will formulate a proposal ... to demand equality in the burden and will come into effect until permanent legislation provides a full response to the issue," Barak stated.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, however, said that Wednesday would present his party with a historic opportunity, when Israel Beiteinu will propose a bill to replace the Tal Law.

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