Kadima warns coalition over ‘Tal Law’ dispute

Sources say that if Netanyahu does not pass a law meeting Kadima’s criteria, the party will leave the coalition.

Binyamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Binyamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Tensions between the Likud and Kadima heightened over the weekend over the issue of drafting haredim into national service. Sources close to Vice Premier and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz were quoted as saying that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not pass a law meeting Kadima’s criteria they will leave the coalition.
Kadima and Mofaz are insisting that the new legislation mandate personal financial sanctions against anyone refusing to serve, possibly including the revocation of housing benefits, municipal taxes and other welfare allotments, which many members of the ultra- Orthodox community receive.
Netanyahu is said to be reluctant to concede to these terms, concerned about the future political ramifications of alienating the haredi political factions.
“We’re not afraid to return to the opposition but we are not threatening yet,” sources close to Mofaz were quoted as saying on Friday following a meeting between the Kadima leader and the prime minister.
“He can’t pass a bill without Kadima so the prime minister has to decide between a covenant with haredim and being everyone’s PM. We call the sanctions personal responsibility,” the source continued.
“The entire process depends on there being personal responsibility on the individual.”
Meanwhile, senior figures in Likud accused Kadima and Mofaz of seeking to drive a wedge between their party and Yisrael Beytenu.
One source was quoted as saying that Kadima was trying to get Yisrael Beytenu to leave the coalition in order to free up the Foreign Ministry for Mofaz, and accused the Vice Premier of reneging on a “clear agreement” that Israeli-Arabs would be included in the terms of a law mandating an obligatory national service draft for all.
The Keshev Committee, established to draw up proposals for a new law, announced on Thursday that it would not recommend an obligatory draft for Arab citizens, a move which led Yisrael Beytenu and Habayit Hayehudi to cease cooperation with the committee.
Netanyahu is however insisting that Arabs be included in the terms of the new law for obligatory service.
On Thursday, Netanyahu warned members of the Keshev Committee that unless it instituted mandatory national service for the Arab sector, he might decide not to bring the committee’s recommendations to the Knesset for a vote.
Speaking at a cultural event in Ness Tziona on Shabbat, Kadima MK Yisrael Hasson expressed opposition to any draft legislation that does not include obligatory service for Arabs, as well as all other sectors of society.
“If there will not be [obligatory] service for all from age 18, including Arabs, I will vote against the recommendations of the [Keshev] committee,” he said.
Hasson said Kadima provided Netanyahu with the support to “to create a new civil order,” dialogue with the Palestinians and reform to the political and electoral system.
“If he does not prove he’s working towards these goals, we will need to expose his true intentions to the public,” Hasson warned.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.