'New reality.' Bibi
Photo: Gil Yohanan

PM succumbs to pressure: 'IDF service for haredim, Arabs'

After Yisrael Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi factions quit Plesner Committee, Netanyahu tells Arab lawmakers 'there is a new reality in Israel, and everyone must share the burden'

"Arab citizens, along with the haredim, must carry their equal share of the burden," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday evening, shortly after the Yisrael Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi factions announced their decision to quit the Plesner Committee.


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Earlier it was reported that the committee, which is debating alternatives to the Tal Law, will likely recommend that the State not require Israeli Arabs to perform military or national service.


"There is a new reality in Israel, and everyone must share the burden," Netanyahu told Arab lawmakers, adding that he will object to draft exemptions.


Lieberman informed Netanyahu that his faction would halt its cooperation with the committee and would bring to a vote in the Knesset a bill authored by MK David Rotem that would make national service mandatory for all sectors of Israeli society, including Arabs.


נתניהו וליברמן. "רואים עין בעין" (צילום: נועם מושקוביץ)

Netanyahu ad Lieberman 'see eye to eye' (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)


Yisrael Beiteinu called the committee's decision "damaging to the importance of equal service" and said that the faction believed that there was only one way to achieve an equal share of the burden, and that was to draft every citizen at age 18: secular, haredi, and Arab alike.


A source close to the prime minister said that committee chairman MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) "made a discretionary mistake when he voted to keep Arabs out of the bill. His mistake led to this crisis."


The source said "Lieberman and Netanyahu see eye to eye on this issue. There must be a mandatory daft for both haredim and Arabs."


Netanyahu told the Arab MKs he would not bring to a Knesset vote a bill that does not require Arabs and ultra-Orthodox to enlist in the army. "It's a matter of principle, and I am against exempting Arabs or haredim from army service," the premier stated.


"There is a new reality in Israel, and everyone must share the burden," he said.


PM Netanyahu is expected to meet with his deputy, Shaul Mofaz, to discuss ways to resolve the political crisis surrounding the committee's recommendations.


Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, head of the religious Habayit Hayehudi faction, told the PM its representatives were leaving the committee over the decision not to require Arabs to enlist.


"Those who receive from the State must also contribute to it," he said.


"Without the Arabs' contribution – there is no equal distribution of the burden."



פרסום ראשון: 06.28.12, 20:52
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