With just two days to go until the May 28 deadline for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form a government, the Chareidi parties have accepted a proposed compromise by the Likud and Netanyahu regarding the IDF draft law. However, Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party that possesses an essential five seats for the formation of a government, has refused the compromise and stated that he will not accept anything less than the previously established draft law that was past in its first reading in the previous Knesset.
The Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudas Yisroel (Admorim) met in an emergency meeting on Sunday, and accepted the compromise proposed that was compiled by former Minister Ariel Attias and received the blessing of Netanyahu, thus removing one of the stumbling blocks that existed in forming a coalition. Shortly after it was announced that the Charedim would accept the compromise, Lieberman issued a statement that said that “the party would not compromise on its integral positions.” Netanyahu followed this up with a statement by saying that he doesn’t believe that it is the Draft Law which is holding up Lieberman’s acquiescence to joining the government and that there must be something else.
The Likud said in response: “This is a major breakthrough that will allow the Draft law to be implemented and become a functioning reality. Now the ball is in Lieberman’s court, if he agrees, then we will have a right-wing government formed even tonight.
The Moetzes agreed to the implementation of quotas of Charedim who would be admitted to the IDF and into national service programs, but on condition that these quotas be determined by the sitting government (of which they would be a large part) and not placed in the law directly, which would be more difficult for them to change. This is the first time the Moetzes has agreed to any terms that would see the implementation of quotas.
Yisrael Beiteinu issued a statement that said: “The invitations of Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet with all party heads this evening, together with the announcement by the Moetzes ten minute prior to the main night time news slot, are two tactics of the same plan by Netanyahu and the Chareidim to put pressure on Lieberman. The point of the plan is to make it seem like it is Lieberman’s fault for having the country go to new elections. In truth, the guilt lies with the Likud and with the person who sits at its head. After a failed attempt by the Prime Minister to form a government with positive terms, we would expect the Prime Minister to put pressure on the Chareidi parties and the Rabbis who stand behind them making the decisions. In any case, our proposal is sitting on the table. We publicized it to the masses and we have no intention of giving up on our principles.
Head Of the Agudas Yisroel Party and UTJ Yaakov Litzman said that he is not scared of elections, “Perhaps in the new elections we will have 9 or 10 mandates.”
After the decision by the Moetzes, Betzalel Smotritch, who commands two mandates as the head of the National Union Party and is in the number two spot of the large United Right party with The Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit issued a message to Lieberman that said: “My friend, in spite of what you imagined and what many others imagined, all of the Charedi parties including Agudas Yisroel, stad behind the compromise. Now the ball is in your court. Show some responsibility and give a positive answer tonight, and let us establish a good right-wing government and change the world. Politics is the art of compromise and you know this.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “I have made my final push to try to establish a right-wing government and avoid unnecessary elections. The compromise regarding the draft law is based upon the main ideas that the IDF established and are based on the statistics that the IDF established. There is no reason to not accept this.”
Likud MKs all received a missive today that they have a mandatory appearance requested in the Knesset tomorrow to vote on the proposed bill by MK Miki Zohar to disperse the Knesset. The opposition parties will all be arriving at 1:00 p.m. for the regularly scheduled plenum session. According to MK Ahmed Tibi, the opposition will discuss how to deal with the latest spin that Netanyahu is making regarding the dissolution of the Knesset in its initial reading if it comes up at all.
Yisrael Beiteinu put out the following statement on Shabbos, pledging not to budge on its demands:
“During the elections as well as after the elections we clarified, that we will not budge one millimeter from the original text of the conscription law as it passed in its first reading in the Knesset. The Yisrael Beiteinu party believes in the philosophy of “live and let live”. We are for a Jewish State but against a Halachic State. Therefore, accept our proposal. If not, we will go to another round of elections. The nation will determine whether they want a right-wing government or a Chareidi government.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)