Haredi men protest outside the draft office in Jerusalem on November 28..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
United Torah Judaism MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes said on Tuesday that there is no reason to go to elections over the issue of the haredi enlistment, and said that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chooses to do so, it would be for personal reasons.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Mozes pointed out that there is a majority in Knesset to pass the proposed haredi enlistment exemptions law without Yisrael Beytenu, which strongly opposes it, because the Joint List has said it will not vote on the issue.
The suspicion that Netanyahu is acting out of personal concerns would be heightened, said the UTJ MK, if he insists on an election date in June.
“It will be after all the festivities for 70 years of the State of Israel and after Trump comes, and Prince William comes and the President of France, and Netanyahu will present himself as the big man and he’ll make us [seem like] thieves, so it is clear,” said Mozes.
Asked whether UTJ had made a strategic error in demanding the rapid passage of the enlistment exemptions law and endangered one of the most benevolent governments ever for haredi interests, Mozes insisted that the timetable had been forced upon it by the High Court of Justice.
In September of last year, the High Court struck down the previous arrangement for haredi military service exemptions, and gave the government until this September to formulate a new law. Failure to do so would mean that all haredi men turning 18 obligated to enlist after this date.
Mozes said that the summer Knesset session is short and was not long enough to deal with a substantive issue like haredi enlistment.
“So we requested that at least we have a platform to begin with, and afterwards we’ll adjust it.”
He said however, that the current terms of the bill were “irrelevant,” and was only a declaratory basis to work on.
“Very often a preliminary law passed is passed saying A and what comes out is B. We just want that it be known in a formal manner that this government intends to arrange a bill for haredi enlistment [exemptions].”
Mozes insisted however that the party had not significantly compromised over the issue, despite the fact that UTJ agreed not to advance a bill including a basic law recognizing Torah study “as a supreme value in the State of Israel” and a reason not to enlist, and that it also conceded its demand not to pass the law in full but only through a preliminary reading instead.
The MK said that the attorney general had told them the basic law was not legal and said that the time constraints due to the end of the Knesset session this Thursday meant that it was unrealistic for them to insist the legislation be passed into law before the beginning of the Knesset recess.