to immediately begin drafting haredim who reach the age of 18 are "good for headlines, but they are not realistic," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told
the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
The PM said such a drastic measure would cause the haredi community to "recoil" and would eventually lead to a reduction in the number of ultra-Orthodox who enlist in the IDF.
He said it would also lead to the closure of the army haredi regiment - Netzah Yehuda.
During the cabinet meeting, the premier said "we are on the brink of a historic change that will significantly increase the number of haredi recruits without causing a rift in the nation.
"The move will be successful only if it is implemented gradually," Netanyahu said. "I am responsible for providing a solution that will create a more equal share of the burden, as well as unity. Both are vital to our national resilience."
Rabbi Amar (L) with Peres (Photo: Mark Neiman, GPO)
Earlier, Netanyahu told a meeting of Likud
ministers that the ongoing crisis in negotiations to find an alternative to the Tal Law
had been caused by Kadima members
who had changed their position during the talks.
In response, a Kadima official said Netanyahu, who "only a week ago" adopted the recommendation's of a committee
tasked with drafting a universal recruitment law, "is now running back - as though in a frenzy - into the arms of the haredim."
Meanwhile, a group of activists calling for equal share of the burden demonstrated Sunday morning in front of the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.
The demonstrators carried a stretcher to symbolize the burden carried by Israelis who perform military and national service.
Also Sunday, President Shimon Peres
met with Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar and told him that 'the burden must be shared by everyone equally. The debate (on an alternative to the Tal Law) must be conducted without extremism."
Attila Somfalvi, Noam "Dabul" Dvir contributed to the report