Lapid vows to quit coalition over sanctions for haredi draft dodgers

Lapid: "There is a law that must obligate everyone and everyone will have to obey it. We won't sit in government that won't pass draft bill."

February 8, 2014 22:55
2 minute read.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid at Yesh Atid faction meeting, October 14, 2013.

Lapid at Yesh Atid faction meeting 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Yesh Atid will leave the government if it does not pass legislation applying criminal sanctions to draft-dodgers from all sectors of society, party leader Yair Lapid said Saturday.

Speaking on the Channel 2 program Meet The Press, Lapid expressed confidence that his representatives on the special Knesset committee on the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) draft would reach agreements this week with Bayit Yehudi, which opposes criminal sanctions.

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“There is a law that must obligate everyone, and everyone will have to obey it,” he said. “We will not sit in a government that will not pass the draft bill, and it must be real. I won’t accept some kind of camouflage just to stay in the government.”

Lapid revealed that there has been dialogue on the issue with haredi leaders under the radar. He said secular Israelis needed to show understanding to the haredim during the difficult period ahead and that he was not fazed by Thursday’s haredi riots.

“We were not surprised by the extent of the demonstrations,” he said. “We know we are working on a societal revolution and that it is difficult.

That’s why people were afraid of dealing with it in the past.

We are not afraid. It is an open wound in the heart of the state, so we will pass the bill.”

Of the 13 people arrested in Ashdod during rioting Thursday, 12 had their remand extended by the Ashdod Magistrate’s Court until after Shabbat, while one, a minor, was released Friday.

All 13 were charged for various offenses, including participating in an illegal gathering, rioting, aggravated assault against police officers, obstructing a police officer and insulting a public official.

A total of 15 haredi men were arrested in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh; 14 were subsequently released with restrictions, while one man’s remand was extended.

In Bnei Brak, two detainees were released to house arrest while one was released on conditional terms.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman expressed hope on Friday that the bill to equalize the burden of service would not further divide Israelis.

Liberman, in a speech at the Tel Aviv Hilton, said his Yisrael Beytenu party would support whatever proposal the coalition forged.

“What matters is keeping the nation together, not just serving in the army, which is an honor, not a burden,” he said. “Every young person must serve, whether it is in the army or in national service, whether he is Jewish, Muslim or Christian. There is no reason why an 18-year-old haredi man who does not want to serve in the army cannot serve his own community at Laniado Hospital in Netanya.”

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