Mofaz disappointed at PM reaction to Keshev C'tee

Netanyahu to begin “shuttle diplomacy” between heads of coalition parties in hopes of saving national-unity gov't.

July 4, 2012 23:02
2 minute read.
Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday night slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the Keshev Committee’s recommendations on how to equalize the burden of IDF service, in a bad sign for the continuation of their national-unity government.

Netanyahu intends to begin shuttle diplomacy with all the heads of the parties in his coalition, including Mofaz, on Thursday, in an effort to draft legislation on the service of haredim and Arabs by the August 1 deadline set by the High Court of Justice.

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“The recommendations today include important principles and go in the right direction, but a more solid response is needed, especially on the issue of Arabs,” Netanyahu said. “My intention is to bring a combined bill to bring about a large rise in haredi and Arab service that can pass in the Knesset and be implemented.”

The prime minister warned that he would not allow the continuation of the current situation in which those who serve and those who do not have the same status.

“We’re standing before a historic change in Israeli society,” he said. “Evaders will no longer get what those who serve receive.”

Sources close to Mofaz expressed frustration that Netanyahu did not address the issue of personal sanctions for ultra-Orthodox draft-evaders, and said he focused too much on Arabs.

Denouncing Netanyahu’s statement as “empty political spin,” they said the gaps between the Likud and Kadima on the issue were very wide.

“The prime minister’s message avoids the supreme challenge of the illegality and the injustice of exemptions for the entire haredi sector,” Mofaz said. “The citizens of Israel expected clear explanations from the prime minister. Those who serve expected decisive leadership and historic and effective justice, and it looks like they didn’t get it. This is the time for action and not words, for decisions and not deception.”

Mofaz’s associates said the prime minister failed the test that the vice premier presented him at a Kadima faction meeting seven hours earlier, in which he said Netanyahu adopting Keshev’s principles was a condition for Kadima remaining in the government.

“We won’t be able to look our children in the eye otherwise,” Mofaz said. “The ball is in the PM’s hands, and it’s a matter of days.”

Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich mocked Mofaz’s speech, calling it “yet another embarrassing moment in his embarrassing connection with Bibi.”

“Mofaz has proven you cannot believe a single word that comes out of his mouth,” she said.

In a sign that Netanyahu’s goals can be reached, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, who is in charge of the National Service Authority, told a gathering organized by Habayit Hayehudi Knesset candidates Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz in Jerusalem on Wednesday night that there has been a huge rise in the number of Arabs and haredim performing national service.

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