Netanyahu asks leading rabbis to back haredi IDF draft law

Agudat Yisrael Party’s Council of Torah Sages will hold a fateful meeting Sunday night that could decide whether Israel will go to early elections.

Energy Minsiter Yuval Steinitz, Transportation Minister Israel Katz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Energy Minsiter Yuval Steinitz, Transportation Minister Israel Katz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called upon the grand rabbis of Agudat Yisrael’s Council of Torah Sages Sunday to endorse the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) conscription bill, whose passage could help prevent early elections.
The Supreme Court set a December 2 deadline to pass the bill, which is backed by Shas and by Degel Hatorah, Agudat Yisrael’s partner in United Torah Judaism. Netanyahu has enough votes to pass it without Agudat Yisrael’s support, but he wants all the parties in his coalition to vote for it.
“The enlistment bill is a good bill for Israel that balances between the needs of the army that prepared it and for the haredi public,” he said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “This bill must pass. The time has come to put it behind us.”
Netanyahu told Likud ministers earlier that he especially wanted to pass it with the current make-up of the government, and not with the votes of Yesh Atid, which voted for the bill in its first reading.
“I don’t need an excuse for elections,” he said. “There are plenty. This coalition is good, and it must continue working.”
Netanyahu postponed the weekly meeting of coalition party heads, because the Agudat Yisrael Party’s Council of Torah Sages will hold a fateful meeting in Jerusalem Sunday that could decide whether Israel will go to early elections.

Netanyahu pressured Agudat Yisrael leader Yaakov Litzman
over the weekend to support the conscription bill. Netanyahu reportedly told Litzman that he wanted to pass the bill as soon as possible, even if early elections are initiated.