Ehud Barak speaks at a Tel Aviv press conference.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak will not only not join a coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also won’t enter a government that will not pass his new plan for ending haredi military service, Barak vowed at a Tel Aviv press conference on Tuesday.
Barak said the government must cancel the controversial draft law that he calls “Isra-bluff.”
The plan calls for stopping efforts to draft haredim (ultra-Orthodox) into the IDF, instead having both haredim and Arabs perform national service before receiving guidance for integrating into the workforce. His yet to be named party would insist on the plan being implemented within 12 months.
“The time has come for change, for fixing the system, to be one nation and blossom for all Israelis,” Barak said. “Within a year, we will end the draft law and pass a new bill that will cut the Gordian knot from forced coercion to integration.”
Barak said the IDF would only draft who it needs, paying soldiers fairly, while top haredi students would continue learning Torah full time and the amount of haredim in the workforce would be maximized.
“We must admit forced conscription has not and will not work,” Yair Golan, Barak’s no. 2, said at the press conference. “It keeps haredim in yeshivot and kollels who are more fit to be in the workforce. Whoever studies will study for real.”
Prof. Yifat Biton, who is expected to be third on the list, said the current arrangement of drafting for the IDF promotes equality.
“We will free the IDF from the burden of drafting soldiers it doesn’t need and free ourselves of the burden of the concept of equalizing the burden,” she said.
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich said it was inappropriate of Barak to hold a press conference on the day of Labor’s primary.
The Likud released a campaign video reminding voters that buses were regularly blown up when Barak was prime minister. The ad encourages Barak to “go back to Twitter.”
As the ad suggested, Barak did take to Twitter, responding “Bibi... I understand the anxiety, the pressure, the quick breathing, the sweating and the spasms from the edge of your lips. Bibi, I know you well. Breathe deeply. Slowly. We have just begun.”
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