Kadima threatens to quit gov't over Plesner Report

Mofaz says "the ball is in Netanyahu's hands, he has only days," declares that "Plesner plan is the only plan."

Shaul Mofaz at Kadima faction meeting 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Shaul Mofaz at Kadima faction meeting 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima party chairman Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday asserted that the implementation of the Plesner Report is a condition for his party staying in the government. "The ball is in Prime Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu's] hands and he has a matter of days," Mofaz added, declaring that "the Plesner plan is the only plan."
Mofaz spoke shortly after MK Yohanan Plesner presented his report, which was intended to build a framework for replacing the Tal Law and increase haredi and Arab participation in the IDF and national civilian service.
The report, he continued, is the first test of Kadima's partnership with Netanyahu. The prime minister's decision to cancel the committee "violates the Likud's agreement with Kadima, and is invalid," he said.
"Our obligation is to our sons, our country and to social justice," Mofaz said at a Kadima faction meeting. "I have served in the security field for more than 40 years and this is a fateful decision for all of us."
In his report published earlier Wednesday morning, Plesner recommended that 80 percent of ultra-Orthodox participate in national or military service within four years and that personal and criminal sanctions be imposed on those who do not serve.
Although Netanyahu dismissed the Plesner committee earlier this week after a number of its members quit in protest of various issues, sources close to Netanyahu said Tuesday that he would nonetheless use its recommendations as the basis for a new law.
While offering several tracks of service for haredi men, the report recommends that service be defined as a personal responsibility, and that failing to complete it result in criminal proceedings and/or a fine and the loss of potential government benefits.
The report further suggests limiting the number of haredi men who can receive "permanent [student]" exemptions from civil or military service to 1,500.
In addition, it contains a recommendation to shorten the service required of haredi men to 24 months. Currently, men are required to serve three years in the IDF. A civil service track would be shortened to 18 months.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.