PM has not given up on coalition with Kadima

Netanyahu warns against "overreaching" on haredi draft; sources close to PM deny he has already accepted Kadima's departure.

Netanyahu cabinet - close 390 (photo credit: Maariv Pool)
Netanyahu cabinet - close 390
(photo credit: Maariv Pool)
Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denied reports on Sunday that he had already accepted Kadima’s departure from his national-unity coalition as a fait accompli.
The reports emanated from a comment he made at Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting that his associates said had been misinterpreted.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said at the meeting that “Kadima wants to break the partnership and is playing games.” Netanyahu responded “there is a lot of truth in those words.”
A source close to Netanyahu said the prime minister “was not showing Kadima the door.” Another Netanyahu associate said the prime minister was indeed angry at Kadima for playing politics instead of compromising but that he still had hope of continuing the partnership.
“He is not trying to burn bridges,” the Netanyahu associate said. “He did not build a coalition of 94 MKs in order to burn bridges after two months. We won’t say we are optimistic but we are trying.”
Netanyahu warned the cabinet Sunday about “overreaching” and advocated a gradual approach to drafting haredim.
“I believe this process will only succeed if it is done gradually, but I want to say that the gradual approach we are discussing is very ambitious,” he said.
According to Netanyahu, a number of years ago almost no haredim enlisted in the army.
“Last year that number stood at 2,400, and we are talking about bringing the number to 6,000 within four years.”
Netanyahu characterized proposals to immediately draft all 18-year old haredim as “overreaching,” and said this may actually decrease the number of haredim going into the service.
These proposals, he said, “are perhaps good for headlines, but it is doubtful if they are possible to implement.”
He said that it is reasonable to think that the haredim would react to such proposals by refusing to enter in the IDF even through the frameworks now available.
“A situation could be created that if we take too extreme a step, the number of those going into the army and serving will decrease, rather than increase,” he warned.
Netanyahu, who said he wanted to see more participation in the IDF or national service by both haredim and Arabs, said this needed to be done in a way that would not create major societal rifts.
Meanwhile Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said on a visit to the Druse village Julis that he recommends delaying a vote on an alternative to the Tal Law until after the next general election.