MK (Yisrael Beitenu) David Rotem spoke with Israel Radio on Monday morning, 11 Tammuz 5772. Rotem was a member of the Plesner Committee but resigned before shabbos over his party’s objections to the direction being taken by the committee. Yisrael Beitenu feels that “all citizens must share the burden” and when the committee decided the new draft law will not include Israeli Arab citizens, the decision was made to resign from the committee.
ROTEM: It does not matter what one’s hashkafa is. Everyone, all citizens must serve equally, Jews and Arabs alike. The committee is not going to solve the problem. There must be equal service for all, including hesder. There are going to be changes regarding hesder as well. Actually, one of the ideas we had was a hesder type military service for chareidim.
We basically feel that one who does not contribute may not receive benefits. It must be a two-way street. This includes arnona property tax, tuition assistance and mortgage assistance. No service means no government assistance.
There is nowhere to go on the committee. One member for example, Dr. Stern feels the High Court is always wrong and the Tal Law was fine and it should not have been declared illegal. I quit along with others. The committee is not going to solve anything.
The law they are talking about is not “good enough” or “better than nothing” but it is a “bad law” since it remains discriminatory. For as long as all citizens don’t serve it is unacceptable and they are not addressing the need for Arabs to serve.
As a result, the bill presented by Yisrael Beitenu prior to the Plesner Committee will be introduced in Knesset. Kadima must support it since the entire justification given by Shaul Mofaz to enter the current coalition was the passing of a draft law. This is the law Kadima is looking for so if the party does not support it, the voters will know. You can’t simply lie so Kadima will have to face the music with our bill.
ISRAEL RADIO: Do you expect the prime minister and the coalition to support the Yisrael Beitenu bill?
ROTEM: Most certainly since the bill is the proper law, the one that the committee should be pushing. If you want equality then this is how to achieve it. If they wish to simply double talk, well this is a different story.
Kadima’s Dr. Nachman Shai was next, telling Israel Radio there were other conditions surrounding Kadima’s inclusion in the coalition as well, including advancing talks with the PA (Palestinian Authority) and changing the form of government in Israel.
RESHET BET: Will Kadima leave the coalition over the draft bill?
SHAI: Yes, for if it does not pass into law there is nothing for Kadima to do in such a coalition.
RESHET BET: Are you speaking on behalf of the official party leadership, in the name of Shaul Mofaz?
SHAI: This is the position that we accepted. I assume this would be the case if draft bill is not passed as promised. How can we explain our actions if the bill is not passed into law? This is why we are sitting in the coalition today.
RESHET BET: When you and others discussed this last night did Mofaz respond?
SHAI: No he did not. I can only say there may be colleagues whose main objective is to be part of the coalition but for me and many others, if we do not succeed in this mission we have no place in such a coalition.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)