FM, Mofaz affirm commitment to draft all citizens

In visit to "Camp Sucker" Liberman says it's crucial all 18-year-olds do national service; Mofaz denies "deals" with Keshev c'tee.

Haredi IDF soldiers Tal Law 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)
Haredi IDF soldiers Tal Law 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout .)
Both Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz paid visits to the “Camp Sucker” encampment in Tel Aviv today and reaffirmed their commitment to passing a new law that will mandate obligatory national service for all citizens.
The Camp Sucker movement is a protest group calling for an equalization of the burden of national service.
The Keshev Committee in the Knesset has, for the last month, been holding hearings to formulate a replacement for the Tal Law – passed in 2002 and struck down in February by the High Court of Justice – which allowed ultra-Orthodox men to indefinitely defer their military service.
The committee is expected to present its recommendations next week.
Speaking to the Camp Sucker protesters, Liberman said that it is crucial that mandatory national service be instituted for anyone reaching the age of 18. However, he refused to say whether Yisrael Beytenu will quit the coalition if the new legislation does not include mandatory service for all, promising simply that such a law will be passed.
He also denied that the any deal had been done along the lines of those proposed by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin to institute minimum targets for haredi recruits, something campaigners are ardently opposed to.
Liberman also insisted that the new legislation is not designed to injure any community “but to help two important sectors to integrate into Israeli society and to create a more just society,” referring to the haredi and Arab communities.
“We are trying to build our firefighting service, why can’t they serve there? Or in nursing in hospitals? There is enough space for everyone,” he said.
Mofaz, during his visit to the camp, denied that there have been any “deals” done within the Keshev Committee, saying that the government bill “will obligate all citizens” to perform some form of national service.
The vice premier insisted however that the campaign for sharing the burden of military service more equally should not turn into a populist struggle or civil war.
He added that it will not be possible to satisfy the demands of all sides, predicting strong opposition from the haredi sector and from those “who want to score points on the back of haredim.”
Despite their comments, the protest movement for military service equality was not satisfied with the tone or urgency of Mofaz and Liberman’s comments, saying that the two had not declared that “they will go to the end” for the sake of mandatory service for all.
“It seems that the haredi pressure has worked. If next week it turns out that the Keshev Committee recommendations be another capitulation to draft dodgers, the campaign will sharpen dramatically.”