Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the leaders of the haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) political party to "reassure" them about the new unity government's plan to replace the Tal Law, which serves to exempt haredim from army service.
Netanyahu “Reassures” Haredim, Hints Draft Exemptions Will Continue
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
According to Ynet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the leaders of the haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) political party to "reassure" them about the new unity government's plan to replace the Tal Law, which serves to exempt haredim from army service.
The law has been ruled illegal by Israel's High Court, and it expires in July. A majority of Israelis strongly oppose haredi draft dodging, and the issue of making haredi military service mandatory threatened to bring down Netanyahu's government. Avigdor Liberman, Netanyahu's foreign minister and coalition partner, and other Yisrael Beteinu leaders, relecting the feelings of the majority of the Russian immigrant population, moved to pass a bill that would draft all haredim.
Haredi leaders, on the other hand, adamantly oppose army service for their followers.
To prevent the collapse of his coalition, Netanyahu called for early elections and dissolved the Knesset.
But then, just days later, in a surprise move, he formed a unity government with Kadima, the leading opposition party. Kadima's newly elected leader, Shaul Mofaz, is more willing to accommodate haredi demands than outgoing leader Tzipi Livni, who very publicly fought haredi forced gender segregation and draft dodging.
Just before being elected Kadima leader two weeks ago, Mofaz promised that he would not allow Kadima to form a government with Netanyahu's Likud:
"Kadima under my leadership will remain in the opposition. The current government represents all that is wrong with Israel, I believe. Why should we join it?"
Mofaz's about face shocked many Kadima voters.
According to a brief report on Ynet, Netanyahu reassured UTJ leaders today and promised that he would work with them to find alternatives to the illegal Tal Law.
"Bibi said that this will be a new law, a different one, which won't include forceful IDF enlistment (of haredim) but will do so through integration," one source said. "He asked us to be partners in the discussion."
This appears to indicate that there will not be mandatory conscription of haredim in the forseeable future, despite the High Court's order.