Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened the United Torah Judaism Party over the weekend that an early election will be initiated if a new haredi conscription bill is not passed expeditiously.
Earlier this month, the High Court of Justice granted a 90-day extension until December 2 on a deadline it had set for passing legislation regulating service in the IDF for the country’s ultra-Orthodox community.
Speaking to reporters accompanying him to Lithuania, Netanyahu said, “The ball is in the hands of Agudat Yisrael,” in reference to the party within UTJ that is led by Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman.Netanyahu said the conscription bill
, which was written by the IDF, was the best it can be. He said that if Litzman votes for it and a coalition crisis is prevented, the government could complete its term in November 2019.
Agudat Yisrael rabbis are set to meet in the coming week to make a decision. The prime minister said two weeks ago that he wanted a decision by the second meeting of coalition heads, which was interpreted as being this Sunday. But the coalition heads and the cabinet will not be meeting.
A Channel 2 poll broadcast on its Meet the Press program Saturday night found that 51% of Israelis are satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister.
The poll found that the minister with the highest rating was Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) with 57%, followed by Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) with 51%.
The least popular were Litzman with 34%, Social Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) with 23%, and Interior Minister Arye Deri (Shas) with only 17%.
The poll found that 74% were unsatisfied with the government’s handling of the situation in the Gaza periphery.