Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu understands that Yesh Atid and Bayit HaYehudi have signed an agreement to enter the coalition or opposition as a unit, and therefore, he needs to win over both Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid if he wishes to include their combined 31 seats in his coalition.
Both party leaders have already rejected the Likud’s share the draft plan prepared by Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon. Unlike Lapid’s plan calling to draft all bnei Torah annually with the exception of 400 “geniuses who will be permitted to continue learning”, the Likud plan sets a draft goal of 6,000 chareidim at 2016, and it does not set a maximum number of bnei Torah permitted to continue learning annually.
Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff explained that it is far less significant for him how many people continue learning for as long as the military receives the number of inductees it requires. Lapid [and Bennett] on the other hand disagree, for their feel the ‘sharing the burden’ issue hinges on every eligible person serving in the military or national service because that is what a citizen must do.
Likud/Beitenu in the Monday 1 Rosh Chodesh Adar 5773 round of talks will present its new modified Ya’alon Plan, a plan that was prepared by the head of the National Economic Council Prof. Eugene Kandel. This plan will result in a larger chareidi draft but it does not set a maximum number of bnei Torah who will be permitted to continue learning as Lapid and Bennett. The daily Maariv reports the two have already stated ahead of their meetings that they will not accept the new plan.
Maariv quotes “an official involved in the coalition talks” as stating if the plan is based on the Ya’alon plan it is a non starter. The report also quotes a party member as saying “The difference between a annual quota and a goal is simply semantics”, seeking to highlight that the Ya’alon and Lapid formulas may more resemble each other than some care to admit. “After all one may set a target of inducting 95% of the chareidim or simply say I will permit 500 bnei Torah to continue studying annually,” as they amount to the same thing.
Yesh Atid officials explain the issue is a simple one. The military and not the rabbonim will decide how many people are drafted. For as long as the rabbonim make the decision, the plan is a non-starter. “We won’t back down from our demand that everyone serves in the military or a national service” a party official told Maariv.
Yesh Atid officials feel that there is room to negotiate the numbers but not the framework of the plan. That is to say they may be flexible regarding draft age, up to what age may one push off service to continue limud Torah.
Maariv quotes Yesh Atid officials adding they do not wish to close even a single yeshiva, but the IDF must remain the decision maker and chareidim will have to serve the nation as others do.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)