Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided on Saturday to convene the
Likud faction Sunday morning to discuss the Keshev Committee's
recommendations on increasing haredi and Arab enlistment, despite having
ruled earlier in the week to scrap the committee.
came after Netanyahu's dissolving of the committee headed by Kadima MK
Yohanan Plesner, brought condemnation from Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz,
who threatened to leave the government coalition over the issue. If the
Likud faction agrees to accept the committee's findings, Netanyahu will
then meet with Mofaz in order to designate a
team to formulate a bill to increase equality in the national burden.
Minister Ehud Barak, who has been attempting to broker an agreement
between Netanyahu and Mofaz to keep Kadima in the coalition, praised the
development as a "display of responsibility."
Netanyahu's announcement, however, did not appear to placate the protest movement know as "Camp Sucker," which was scheduled to hold a mass protest in Tel Aviv
on Saturday evening calling on the goverment to enact legislation by which everyone would serve in the IDF or perform national service.
"It has become difficult to follow Netanyahu's daily announcements. Each day he wakes up and tries a new spin. There is nothing to discuss, there is no need to form another committee or to seek counsel. There are findings that must be made law immediately," the group which has led the protest against the Tal Law said in a statement.
"Netanyahu we are no longer suckers, we won't accept any more declarations, just actions."
The statement concluded that another Tal Law, allowing haredi Torah scholars to indefinitely defer IDF service, would not be passed. The group said that the mass protest scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv on Saturday night would "send a clear message - There will be no Tal Law 2, there will be a law by which everyone serves."
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.” Mofaz was expected to make an appearance at the protest march.
The keynote speaker at the event, announced Friday
afternoon, will be former 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.
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 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.
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.