Last July, Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz announced that he was leaving Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government, some 70 days after he joined it, to
protest the PM’s failure to advance Kadima’s plan for drafting yeshiva
In a move that expedited the election, Mofaz accused Netanyahu
of siding with the haredim over the tax-paying, working, army-serving middle
class, who later carried Yair Lapid to 19 seats and left Kadima with only
“Netanyahu has chosen to side with the draftdodgers,” Mofaz
emphatically told the press at the time. “I have reached an understanding that
the prime minister has not left us a choice, and so we have
Fast forward 10 months.
The parties in Netanyahu’s
coalition are still bickering over how to draft yeshiva students.
was a marathon meeting Sunday night of the Peri Committee
, which is the
successor of the Kadima- led Plesner Committee, which tried to fix the mess left
by the Tal Committee a decade earlier.
The Peri Committee ministers
fought over very divisive issues like how to compel Arabs to do national
service, how to punish haredi draft-evaders and what impact expanded haredi
service should have on the hesder yeshivas of the national-religious
Fights on such issues could potentially be explosive enough to
cause a serious coalition crisis. They could at certain times, but now is not
one of them.
Why? Because politics is not real estate. The keys are not
location, location, location, but timing, timing, timing.
An issue that
could be the cause of a nasty political battle at the end of a government’s term
that occurs at the beginning of a term is a mere challenging predicament that
can be resolved with enough talking and compromises.
Just listen to the
ministers on the Peri Committee argue apologetically: “There is no intention to
create a crisis,” Yisrael Beytenu’s Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Israel Radio. “We
will honor the coalition agreement. We are responsible members of the government
and we will remain in the government.
This has to be solved, but in my
eyes it is not a crisis.”
“I don’t have an interest in creating
conflicts,” Bayit Yehudi’s Uri Ariel told Army Radio. “It is better to reach
Hearing how pleasantly the ministers debate such divisive
issues, it is easier to understand how they will pass an unpalatable state
budget and even let a diplomatic process with the Palestinians begin
Ever wonder why Israel has so many elections? There are many
reasons. But the debate over drafting yeshiva students reveals an interesting
Elections help our politicians relax and start getting things done.