Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said Wednesday evening that his party would not join government that will not promote equal sharing of the burden and leveled harsh criticism at Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
"I wish to warn the voters of fraudulent solutions such as Naftali Bennett, who tells the secular public (that he will support equal sharing of the burden) and then whispers into the ears of the haredi rabbis that they should not worry and that he is referring only to those people who do not study Torah," Lapid told a press conference at Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening.
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The Yesh Atid leader said he would oppose the establishment of another committee to draft an alternative to the expired Tal Law, which effectively exempted ultra-Orthodox from army service.
'Netanyahu prefers to do nothing.' Lapid's press conference (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
The Plesner Committee, which was dissolved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, determined that about 80% of draft-age haredi Jews would perform either military or civilian national service by 2016.
Lapid accused Netanyahu of missing a "historic opportunity to draft the haredim, have them enter the job market and leave a real mark on Israeli society," adding that the PM "got scared at the last minute."
The journalist-turned-politician told reporters "we know (Netanyahu) prefers to do nothing, so we have to force him. This is Yesh Atid's job. I urge (Labor leader Shelly) Yachimovich not to dodge the issue and say that it is not important. Everyone has to enlist, study the core subjects and work."
Lapid clarified that he is not anti-haredi: "I am not asking the haredim for anything that I don’t ask of my children and myself."
The Yesh Atid chairman said it was possible to form a coalition that would work to draft the haredim and encourage them to enter the job market. "Don't listen to those who say it is isn't possible – it is entirely possible. All we need is enough political power – and it will happen," he said.
Habayit Hayehudi responded by saying that "equal sharing of the burden will not be brought about by filing High Court petitions or issuing press releases. Habayit Hayehudi will serve as a bridge between ultra-Orthodox and seculars and it will bring about equal sharing of the burden as part of the next government."