Despite coalition tensions, the prime minister is determined to solve the draft crisis. "Israeli society is facing a historic change," Benjamin Netanyahu
said Wednesday. "The current situation cannot go on.
The haredim must be integrated in military service and both haredim and Arab-Israelis must be integrated in civil service."
Discussing the Plesner Committee report
released Wednesday, Netanyahu said that the recommendations include important principles and called for a more comprehensive plan for the incorporation of Arabs in national civil service.
"My intent is to bring forward a bill addressing both haredim and Arabs that will win a Knesset majority and that will be implementable."
Netanyahu stressed that he is determined to achieve a "dramatic increase in the percentage of haredi and Arab participation in service. We won't allow a situation where those who don't serve are treated the same as those who do."
Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz was unfazed by the announcement and issued a statement criticizing Netanyahu saying "This is the time for actions, not talk."
He said that the incorporation of Arab-Israelis should be done according to the Plesner Committee recommendations.
"The prime minister's announcement evades the challenge of correcting the illegality and injustice in the sweeping exemption of the haredi population. Israeli citizens were expecting clear statements from the prime minister," he said.
Earlier, sources in Kadima responded by saying that the prime minister's plan cannot be implemented. "There is absolutely nothing there," senior Kadima sources said. "There is only an attempt to spin the story for the media. The gaps are so massive that Netanyahu's statements are void."
MK Yuval Tzelner, a close associate of Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, said that the partnership with Kadima will be compromised if Netanyahu fails to adopt the Plesner report. On Thursday, the prime minister will start discussing the new bill with his coalition partners and will attempt to schedule a meeting with Mofaz.