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Replacing Tal Law to top unity government's priorities
By YONAH BOB
05/08/2012
Netanyahu, Mofaz present deal that will draw Kadima into 94-seat coalition and cancel elections; Mofaz calls move an opportunity to join arms in face of big challenges.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima chair Shaul Mofaz highlighted four priorities for their unity government on Tuesday, emphasizing with each the importance of acting "responsibly."

The first priority will be "replacing the Tal Law with a historic, just and equal solution" to integrating the haredim into army service. The second is to develop a "responsible budget addressing security, economic and social issues."



The third is "changing the structure of government" so that governments serving out their terms will be "the rule and not the exception." The fourth is to "move forward responsibly in the peace process."

Mofaz emphasized that "leaders must make big decisions" at this "important time in the state's history." He argued that national unity was an opportunity to "join arms" to address the state's "hardest challenges."

He also stated that Kadima was not doing this to receive ministries, seats, or "honors," but was joining the government with the sole focus of "resolving the main issues addressing Israel."

Following the conference, Netanyahu and Mofaz will present the deal to the Knesset, which is expected to approve it within 48 hours.

Netanyahu and Mofaz sealed the deal, which scuttled plans for early elections in September, overnight, after which Likud and Kadima factions agreed to the agreement.

The agreement stipulates that Kadima will not topple the government until the official end of its term on October 22, 2013. Mofaz - who replaced Tzipi Livni just last month as the Kadima party head - will also become vice premier, and will fill in for the prime minister when he is abroad. Kadima's inclusion will bring the coalition to 94 seats.

Kadima will lead a committee that will work towards approving an alternative to the Tal Law - which allows ultra-Orthodox men to indefinitely defer army service - by the August 1 deadline. In addition, the party will also work towards changing the government system by the end of the year.
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