Universal service vote delayed by a week (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 07/15/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has postponed a vote on a new
universal service bill from Sunday to next week, to give himself more
time to broker a compromise in his coalition between Kadima and the
haredi parties, Likud sources said Saturday night.
Netanyahu and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz decided in a meeting late
Thursday night to shift negotiations over a new bill from their
respective political representatives, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon and
MK Yohanan Plesner, to lawyers representing the two parties.
Kadima lawyer Alon Gellert and Netanyahu confidant David Shimron held
two meetings over the weekend in which they tried to work out
differences between the parties on issues such as draft targets and
quotas and the maximum age until which haredim can avoid serving.
Gellert and Shimron drafted the coalition agreement between Kadima
and the Likud.
Netanyahu’s goal is to complete a deal by Wednesday, pass it in the
cabinet next Sunday and legislate it quickly by July 25, when the
Knesset’s summer recess begins.
To that end, a special Knesset committee will be formed to bypass the
Knesset Law and Constitution Committee that is led by Yisrael Beytenu
MK David Rotem, whom the Likud considers problematic.
Yisrael Beytenu is expected to give Netanyahu headaches this week
when it brings to a vote its universal service bill, which would
require all 18-year-olds to serve. Netanyahu is expected to plead
with Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman to delay the vote on
the measure, which could attract the support of most of the 28 Kadima
“It is better to pass a law that can be implemented rather than a law
that will cause a rift in the nation,” the prime minister said on
Plesner said at a cultural event in Givatayim on Saturday that he had
not given up on the possibility that Netanyahu would adopt the
recommendations of the Keshev Committee he headed on equalizing the
burden of IDF service.
“It’s up to the prime minister to make a decision that will have
significant ramifications on Israeli society and on the future of the
IDF and the economy,” Plesner said.
“If the prime minister continues the Likud-Shas path, which maintains
the status quo in which haredi men don’t have an obligation to serve
in the IDF, it will be hard to prevent the model of the people’s army
from crashing. On the other hand, he has an opportunity to adapt the
plan I presented that would require every citizen to serve.”
Ya’alon, meanwhile, continued his effort to slam Plesner, telling
Channel 2’s Meet the Press program on Saturday that his Kadima
counterpart put political considerations ahead of reaching an
agreement that could gradually increase haredi enlistment.
“Plesner acted against the members of his committee and declared war
on the haredim,” Ya’alon said.
“I got the impression that he is playing politics. The prime minister
decided to form a unity government because he saw a historic
opportunity, and the haredim understand that. I don’t know how it
will end, but this national mission is within arm’s reach and we
shouldn’t drop the ball.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/15/12)
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