Yair Lapid at Cabinet Meeting, looking official 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The crisis in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government surrounding
criminal sanctions for draft dodgers intensified Tuesday night, after lawyers
representing Likud and Yesh Atid failed to reach a compromise.
ministers on the committee examining the issue of equalizing the burden, led by
Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri, will meet Wednesday morning
for the first time since a late night meeting on Sunday ended in a fierce
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid canceled a trip to an OECD meeting
of finance ministers in Paris due to the crisis.
“From our perspective,
there is no compromising,” a source close to Lapid said.
[Likud] understands that we will not compromise on our principles.”
separate source within Yesh Atid confirmed Peri was continuing to insist that
criminal sanctions remain a part of the proposed bill once it is fully enacted,
if haredi enlistment targets in the three-year interim period are not
Associates of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon confirmed that there is
no update on the wording of a controversial clause in the bill that would
mandate how to draft yeshiva students and punish those who evade service. But
Ya’alon himself expressed optimism that a compromise could still be
“The conflict can be overcome and I hope we will succeed,”
Ya’alon told reporters in Ramle. “There is dialogue, and I believe that
ultimately the wording will change, because the initial wording was unacceptable
for me. I hope we will draft something that will enable us to avoid future
Ya’alon criticized Lapid’s methods for drafting
yeshiva students and warned that they would be
“Unfortunately there are those who do not understand
the sensitivity of making such a change,” he said.
“It cannot be done by
law or by sword. When sectors of the population are threatened with jail, the
progress that has been made in increasing the numbers who serve will be
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who is on the
Peri Committee, took Likud’s side in the dispute, saying that Yesh Atid changed
its view on how to sanction draft dodgers for political reasons.
will vote against the clause in the bill if criminal sanctions remain a part of
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni criticized Lapid for different reasons.
She accused him of “surrendering to [Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali] Bennett” on
adding only one month to the service time of national religious soldiers in
“It is hypocrisy to call this equalizing the burden,”
Livni said. “Instead of full dodging of haredim you will have partial dodging of
the national-religious.”Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.