Netanyahu to raise draft bill despite haredi opposition

UTJ has threatened to initiate elections over the bill

June 24, 2018 17:32
1 minute read.
HAREDI protesters are sprayed with water by police as they block a street during a demonstration in

HAREDI protesters are sprayed with water by police as they block a street during a demonstration in Jerusalem against members of their community serving in the IDF, part of ongoing demonstrations. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced at Sunday’s meeting of heads of parties in his coalition that he would bring a controversial bill legislating the drafting of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) yeshiva students to a preliminary vote in the Knesset next week, even though United Torah Judaism and Shas oppose the bill.

Netanyahu said he would work with the parties in the coalition after the bill advances in order to reach a consensus before the bill is passed into law.

He is not expected to have a problem passing the bill in its preliminary reading without haredi support, because it is backed by Yesh Atid.
UTJ has threatened to initiate elections over the bill.

“I do not want elections, but I am not afraid of elections,” Netanyahu told the UTJ leaders at the meeting.

UTJ MK Moshe Gafni, who has suggested he may not oppose the bill, was verbally attacked on Friday night when he was on his way from his synagogue to his home in the haredi Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak.

“Gafni is selling out the yeshiva students,” some 15 protesters chanted. “Gafni is a murderer. Gafni is a traitor.”

UTJ MK Uri Maklev was also heckled Friday when he was shopping in Jerusalem’s Geula neighborhood. Neither Gafni nor Maklev responded to the hecklers.

The leading rabbi of the non-hassidic “Lithuanian” haredi community, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, has told Gafni that the recently proposed bill for haredi enlistment is acceptable and can be advanced through the Knesset.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that Kanievsky described the bill as “the lesser of two evils,” that Degel Hatorah MKs – forming half of the UTJ Knesset faction – should not go to war over the legislation and that it could be supported in general.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

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