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Netanyahu dissolves Plesner Committee

Committee tasked with drafting alternative to Tal Law dissolved following bitter disagreements over haredi enlistment. Addressing Mofaz, PM says 'let's take over reins together'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 07.02.12, 15:49 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the dissolution of the Plesner Committee on Monday during a meeting at his chambers.

 

The committee was tasked with drafting an alternative to the Tal Law, which effectively exempted ultra-Orthodox from army service.

 

"Unfortunately the Plesner Committee failed to reach an agreement due to the withdrawal of some of its members and is unable to draft recommendations that will secure a Knesset majority," he said. "The committee has been dissolved. I thank the five representatives for their hard work."

 

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Speaking to Minister Shaul Mofaz, he said, "Let's take the over the reins together and bring about a solution."

 

Earlier on Monday, senior members of the coalition claimed that Netanyahu had decided to dissolve the Committee after Yisrael Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi and haredi representative Yaakov Weinroth resigned. It was expected that Coalition Chairman MK Zeev Elkin would be the next to quit.

 

Senior political elements voiced concern that MK Elkin would also quit the committee after the departure of three other members. But speculation that Netanyahu was aiming to dissolve the body has been circulating for the past week.

 

"If understandings with Kadima on several relevant issues are not reached soon, Elkin will be the next to leave," one of the sources said. Kadima elements accused Netanyahu of pre-planning the dismantling of the committee and coordinating the move with the haredi parties led by Shas.

 

"This is a premeditated move which includes Elkin's withdrawal, the dissolution of the committee, the dismantling of the unity government and a High Court motion for deferral," a Mofaz associate said.

 

Meanwhile, Shas senior officials confirmed that the move had indeed been coordinated with Netanyahu.

 

"This is a plan to bury the universal draft bill," a Kadima source said earlier in the day. "The dissolution of the committee would mean Kadima's immediate withdrawal and the end of the unity government."

 

Attorney Yaakov Weinroth, who is the representative of Shas and United Torah Judaism to the committee, announced Sunday evening that he was resigning from his post.

 

Weinroth sent a letter in which he stated that the committee acted irresponsibly in handling the sensitive issue of recruiting haredim into the IDF. According to Weinroth, "Forceful actions, even if they deliver results in the short-run, are destructive in the long-run."

 

 

 

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