Lapid threatens to quit gov't over haredi draft row

May 27, 2013 14:44
1 minute read.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid threatened Monday to withdraw his faction from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition in the event that the Likud-led government fails to approve new legislation mandating conscription for the ultra-Orthodox.

"We won't sit in a government that doesn't pass [a bill requiring] an equal sharing of the national burden," said Lapid, who holds the position of finance minister. "There will be equality in the burden or this government will break apart."Yesh Atid and Likud-Beytenu ministers failed to agree on final draft legislation for drafting haredi men into national service in a meeting of the Peri Committee which ended early Monday morning with Yesh Atid warning that the crisis could threaten the future of the coalition.

Lapid told Yesh Atid deputies in the Knesset on Monday that the Likud was guilty of "hurting Zionism and the IDF" by objecting to criminal sanctions against those who failed to report for the draft. He called on Likud to "stop playing this game [which] prevents a historic injustice from being fixed."

Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid party swept into parliament in this last election vowing to push through legislation that would end the decades-long exemption from military service that has been extended to tens of thousands of religious Jews enrolled in yeshivas.

"If anyone thinks that I entered politics just to solve the economic catastrophe left by the previous government, they're mistaken," the former newscaster said.

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