Haredi conscription order won't change anything, because PM has chosen sides

Netanyahu has been on the haredim's side all along, so why does everyone think that the new High Court ruling would suddenly cause the government to collapse?

September 12, 2017 20:28
2 minute read.
Netanyahu speaks to soldiers from Nahal Haredi

Netanyahu at nahal haredi base 311. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)


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Pundits on Twitter rushed to declare a coalition crisis on Tuesday night, following the High Court’s decision that gives the government a year to pass a new law or require the drafting of all Israelis including haredim (ultra-Orthodox).

The pundits forgot that Netanyahu is not going to clash with the haredim. He will find a way to pass a law, bypass the Supreme Court/High Court, and keep his current and future potential government together.

It won’t be easy, because MKs like Bayit Yehudi’s Bezalel Smotrich will try to pass a bill allowing the Knesset to bypass Supreme Court decisions and Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon strongly opposes such legislation. But Kahlon, like all of Netanyahu’s coalition partners, does not want an election, especially not the haredi parties that opposed efforts by Kadima to draft yeshiva students five years ago and ended up after the election with Yesh Atid in the government and them out.

Yesh Atid’s victory in Tuesday’s ruling gives even more incentive for Shas and United Torah Judaism to prolong the life of the current government and keep Yesh Atid in the opposition.

Netanyahu already has had opportunities to decide, when it came to issues like conversion, the Western Wall, and construction of rail lines on Shabbat. Netanyahu always chose the haredim, no matter how extreme they were in statements comparing the Supreme Court to the Hellenists in the Hanukka story.

There is a deep crisis between the haredim and the legal system in Israel. That is not what causes a coalition crisis.
Haredi extremists protest against the drafting of Orthodox men into the IDF

If anything, the court took it easy on Netanyahu and the haredim. It could have ruled that haredi men had to enter the army immediately.

Instead, the court gave Netanyahu’s government a year to pass a law. That is an eternity in Israeli politics.

No one knows whether Netanyahu’s government will be in place in a year. His criminal investigations could bring him down by then.

Netanyahu could call a snap election, lose and be replaced by Yesh Atid, which would honor the court’s decision, or by Labor, which made a point of not voting for a Yesh Atid-sponsored bill requiring haredi service in 2013. The prime minister could win and build a new government by next September.

What is known is that if there will be a new government led by Netanyahu, it will include the haredim. Whether or not they serve in the IDF, they will serve in his cabinet.

Netanyahu has chosen sides.

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