For the time being, Shaul Mofaz
will not carry out his threat to quit the coalition following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
decision to dissolve the Plesner Committee
"because he really wants to see this historic process through," a source close to the Kadima
chairman said Wednesday night.
The committee, which was tasked with devising a new IDF
draft law that would include the haredi
and Arab sectors, presented its findings on Wednesday, despite being rendered toothless.
The committee found that the State should follow a strict set of supra-principles regarding universal draft,
- Imposing the principle of universal service on all Israeli
- Imposing individual liability on anyone trying to evade the service.
- Offering those serving in the IDF incentives and increased compensation.
- Formulating an effective enforcement system against those violating draft directives.
- Mandating the draft of ultra-Orthodox men.
- Applying the principle of universal service to the Arab sector via National Service opportunities.
"The likely scenario is that Netanyahu will pass a watered down law together with the haredim, we will leave the coalition and early elections will be held, a Kadima Knesset member said.
'Complex political game' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"The newspapers want headlines and decisions, but there is a very complex political game going on. Mofaz and Netanyahu are arm wrestling, and we have to wait and see what the outcome is."
It remains unclear if and when Kadima will leave the Likud-led
coalition it joined just two months ago. "It's difficult to anticipate what Mofaz will do. His ego is telling him to quit now, but he is being pressured into giving Bibi a chance, so I assume (Kadima will leave the coalition) only after Netanyahu presents his version of the bill," the MK said.
Most Kadima members are in favor of waiting for Netanyahu's next move before taking any harsh steps. Some even claim that the uproar surrounding the dissolution of the Plesner Committee may be beneficial to the party and increase its popularity.
"We should wait and see what the polls show and how the affair is affecting public opinion," one Kadima member said. "If the polls show the public supports the committee's recommendations, Netanyahu may change his approach."
Meanwhile, the religious Shas
party said it would not support a bill that calls to slap NIS 90,000 ($23,000) fines on those who evade army service. "We also won't allow the destruction of 80% of the kollels within four years, as the Pesner Committee suggests," a Shas member said.
"However," he said, "We realize things must change, and we want to reach a solution. Mofaz is the key."
On Wednesday Netanyahu said he was determined to solve the draft crisis. "Israeli society is facing a historic change," he said. 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."