Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indicated on Saturday 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.
a Likud faction meeting for Sunday morning to discuss the committee’s
recommendations, with a few additions. 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.
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.
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.”
Defense Minister Ehud
Barak said Mofaz and Netanyahu behaved responsibly and made significant progress
toward “a historic change in Israeli society, strengthening the nation’s unity
Plesner said he expects and hopes his report will be
accepted by the Likud, so its proposals can become law, but added that “this is
not the end of the battle, which will continue until we see historic
Netanyahu discussed his expectations for Sunday’s meeting with
several Likud faction members.
A Likud lawmaker said the faction will
discuss the principles of the Plesner Report, but not all of its details, so
that both the Likud and Kadima accept the general recommendations and Netanyahu will have leeway to negotiate with Shas
and United Torah Judaism.
Personal sanctions on those who do not serve,
the biggest point of contention for the two haredi parties, will be discussed.
However, the specifics of such sanctions will not be brought up in the Likud
In addition, the age of enlistment is not expected to be
brought up in Sunday’s meeting.
Plesner recommended it be 23, while the
haredi leadership prefers 28.
Netanyahu also plans to add two points that
were not included in the Plesner Report.
First, that all Israeli citizens
will be required to either enlist in the military or perform national service,
Second, sanctions will not only apply to the
ultra-Orthodox, but also to Arabs and secular Israelis who evade
After the meeting, in which the Likud is expected to approve the
principles of the Plesner Report, Netanyahu and Mofaz are expected to meet to
discuss the staff that will draft the final bill, which the Kadima leader said
must be completed by Wednesday.
Netanyahu favors a team made up of Vice
Premier Moshe Ya’alon, Minister-without- Portfolio Yossi Peled and National
Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror.
On Friday, Mofaz said, “there will be no
further committees” on equal service for all, and that only the Keshev
Committee’s recommendations can form the basis for the
However, on Saturday, a source close to the Kadima chairman
said he would wait until after the Likud faction meeting before determining
whether there has been a breakthrough and if he would cooperate with Netanyahu.