Coalition Whip (Likud) MK Ze’ev Elkin was interviewed by Kikar Shabbat, explaining that the upcoming issue of the new Tal Law may be the forum used by the right-wing to strike back against chareidi MKs for not supporting the bill to save the Ulpana homes in Beit El.
KS: Did the chareidim betray you in the Ulpana vote?
“I don’t accept the description and even more, the betrayal. In voting, one signals one’s beliefs, therefore, it is not a personal issue. They acted as instructed to by their rabbonim and therefore, I have nothing against them personally. It is no secret that Degel HaTorah MKs act as instructed by their rabbonim” Elkin explained.
Nevertheless, Elkin stressed the chareidim made a mistake. “I think they erred since one of the issues involved in this vote was the Knesset’s right to intervene after the High Court issues a ruling. Therefore, in the eyes of MKs Moshe Gafne and Uri Maklev, according to their vote, they supported the view that once the High Court rules the Knesset may not intervene”.
“I believe when this is applied to the debates surrounding the Tal Law, the other side will remember how Gafne and Maklev voted on the Ulpana Bill and ask ‘what is the difference here regarding the Tal Law’”?
He went on to explain by defeating the bill in Knesset, “The Knesset bowed its head to the High Court of Justice and accepted it as the supreme authority and has waived its right to legislate whether regarding the Ulpana Bill or Tal Law”.
Regarding the Plesner Committee which continues to meet in an effort to hammer out the new law that will govern chareidi draft into the IDF, Elkin stated “Matters such as these are addressed by agreement, not coercion or confrontation”.
“Today, the numbers [of chareidim] in the IDF and national service continue to increase, and I think that if we act wisely, this trend will increase, but if we go head-to-head, in my opinion, the results will not be impressive. On the other hand, the leadership of the chareidi tzibur must understand it too must take a step forward since the High Court, political community and the nation at large are of the opinion the current situation may not continue”.
When asked if he believes if Shas and Yahadut HaTorah will break away from the coalition over the Plesner Committee and Tal Law, he responded “I really hope this will not be the case. Their presence in the coalition is important and I will do my utmost to prevent this from occurring”.
Elkin expressed criticism against Shas and Yahadut HaTorah for refusing to send representatives to sit on the Plesner Committee. He feels that since they opted not to be part of it, they do not have any influence on the decisions that will be made.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)