Yisrael Beytenu Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday reiterated his party's position that "every Israeli that reaches 18 must be drafted either to the army or the civilian service."
In an interview with Army Radio, Liberman dismissed suggestions that haredis (ultra-Orthodox Jews) should be allowed to defer their draft for several years, saying their entry should not be postponed, "not for two months and not for two days." He also accentuated that there would be exceptions for rabbis, but that did not comprise the haredi majority.
"There's no reason for a haredi man not to contribute to his community," Liberman said. Voicing his support of "sanctions" against those who serve, Liberman added, "There's no reason that someone who does not contribute to the state should get privileges from the state."
Noting that Israel's population includes 18,000 Arabs to its 8,000 haredis, Liberman stressed that Arab Israelis must serve as well. Asked how he would react if Israel's Arabs demanded equality of services from the government before having service thrust upon them, Liberman responded that anyone who claims Arabs aren't equal "is talking nonsense and doesn't know what they're talking about."
"We have a historic opportunity," because the majority in the government and in the public want to pass a law, Liberman said. "It's really 'now or never.'"