With Kadima's withdrawal
from the coalition final, all eyes are on Avigdor Lieberman's
which is now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
senior coalition partner again.
However, Lieberman is in no hurry to threaten resignation, despite the fact that his universal draft
bill is not set to pass the Knesset vote on Wednesday. "We won't give anyone that pleasure," he told Ynet and suggested there is a possibility elections will be held in early 2013.
According to Yisrael Beiteinu's bill, all Israelis above the age of 18 – including Arabs and haredim – will be forced to enlist in the IDF. "We don't kid ourselves," he said. "There will be 15 Yisrael Beiteinu MKs who will vote for the bill, maybe a few more. We won't give up. If there is no bill, come August 1 everyone enlists."
Lieberman is crediting himself with raising the draft issue on to the public agenda. He is not worried about being left without an alternative to the Tal Law
by the August 1 deadline. "The wall must be broken and when that happens, as with the Berlin Wall or the Qaddafi regime, there is a bit of chaos at first but order soon emerges."
He rejects claims that had he been willing to make a compromise, mass haredi conscription would have been possible. The costs for the state involved in Kadima's proposal would have been unreasonable, he claims.
He is also unfazed by the "suckers" campaign's demand
that he follow Shaul Mofaz's
example and quit the coalition. "So far what I've seen is that Shelly Yachimovitch's campaign managers are calling me to quit," he said. "I have no intention of doing so."
The foreign minister believes he can continue to work with Netanyahu despite the fact that the prime minister has chosen to side with the haredi parties. "I see many waiting around the corner, placing themselves on the finish line waiting for us to quit and to storm in and take our place. We won't give that pleasure to anyone."
Addressing the issue of the elections, he said, "It's clear to me that there will be elections next year. The official date is October 22 but as of February any date is possible."
According to Lieberman there is not one issue, such as budget or Migron, which could prompt Yisrael Beiteinu to withdraw. "It's usually an amalgamation of factors, not one issue. It’s a series of bumps, arguments and circumstances. I believe we'll reach four years and then we'll hold elections and that's an achievement too."