Netanyahu: Israel soon to require national service for Israeli Arabs (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Barak Ravid 04/30/12)
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he intends on
setting into motion a new law that would include mandatory civilian
national service for Israeli Arabs.
The statement came after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
threatened on Saturday that a vote on a replacement to the Tal Law,
which allows full-time yeshiva students to defer national service,
would decide the date of Israel´s elections.
Lieberman advocated for a mandatory service law that would require
the enlistment of the ultra-Orthodox, Israeli Arabs and all other
Israeli citizens. He warned that his Yisrael Beiteinu party had
exhausted its obligations to Netanyahu´s coalition.
Following Lieberman´s threats, Netanyahu met with representatives of
the anti-Tal Law protest movement, called the "sucker´s camp," and
echoed the foreign minister´s statements that there must be a new law
that would require Israeli Arabs to perform national service.
According to a statement by the Prime Minister´s Office, Netanyahu
told the protesters that he intends on changing the distribution of
the burden of service in Israel.
"Whatever was is not what will be," he said. "I know that there are
many opportunists that voted in favor of the automatic extension of
the Tal Law, but I am not one of them. The Tal Law will be replaced
with a different law – a more equal and correct one – and I am the
one who will bring it for a vote before the Knesset."
The statement did not mention the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Netanyahu added that the new law would require the enlistment of
Israeli Arabs and said that the change will necessitate a larger
On Saturday, Lieberman said on Channel 2´s "Meet the Press" that
Israel´s political system will know whether or not it´s heading for
early elections following the vote on a replacement to the so-called
Tal Law on May 9.
The foreign minister´s comments came hours after newly anointed
opposition leader and Kadima Chairperson Shaul Mofaz urged Netanyahu
to move up the general elections to October of this year.
Later on Sunday, Netanyahu said during a meeting with Likud ministers
that the question of whether Israel will hold early elections will
soon be clarified.
"There are speculations about early elections but there are still no
conclusions," he said.
Netanyahu said that the opposition parties have been competing with
each other and trying to show that they are willing to enter
elections, but claimed that it is not true.
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat said during Sunday´s cabinet
meeting that Netanyahu said he is speaking to parties within the
coalition, saying that "next week it will be decided when elections
will be held." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/30/12)
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