Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Coalition partners in tense standoff on equal service law

by Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff

Yesh Atid accused Likud of deviating from coalition deal regarding enlistment reform, while Likud says Yesh Atid is trying to distract the public while it heals from budget crisis criticism • Pro-equality groups: Disband the Peri committee. 

Equal Service LawJust a little over two months since it was sworn in, the Israeli coalition government on Monday faced its most serious test over the wording of a proposed bill to include the ultra-Orthodox sector into army and national service. It seemed a replay of the July 2012 exit of Shaul Mofaz from his 70-day coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where in that case too, the coalition fell apart because Likud was unwilling to punish those in the Haredi sector who refuse to serve.

On Monday, Yesh Atid warned that a crisis over enlistment reform which erupted between the party and Likud-Beytenu on Sunday had the potential to lead to the coalition's collapse. Yesh Atid accused Likud-Beytenu on Sunday of breaching the coalition deal, which stipulates personal financial sanctions against haredi draft dodgers, after Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) asked to have the final say in determining the sanctions for draft dodgers. Yesh Atid saw this as an attempt by Ya'alon to stymie the reform and said that without the "teeth" of financial penalties, the reform in haredi enlistment would not happen.

"The conduct of Likud-Beytenu minister constitutes a blatant violation of the coalition agreement, with the potential to sour the historic opportunity to equalize the burden of military and economic service," the Yesh Atid Party said in a statement on Monday, adding that applying compulsory military or national service on "the whole population" was a "necessary step toward fostering equality in Israeli society."

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