Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Adi Sastiel
Knesset Member Moshe Gafni
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Crisis looming? Bibi endorses IDF conversion bill

Prime minister endorses Lieberman's position, despite possible coalition clash with haredim

A coalition crisis? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to endorse Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's request to push forward the controversial IDF conversion bill ahead of the vote on the state budget.


The Knesset Committee will convene Tuesday in order to advance the bill, amid concern that the move may prompt the haredim to vote against the budget, thereby threatening Netanyahu's coalition.


Monday evening, Knesset Member Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) warned that the haredim will not allow the conversion bill to go through: "We and Shas won't let this happen under any circumstances."


The Knesset held discussions on Monday ahead of the second and third reading of the state budget for the next two years. While Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu wishes to advance the conversion bill, 16 haredi MKs have said they will not support the budget as result. Netanyahu now must decide between the sides, and is currently leaning towards endorsing the foreign minister.


Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin refused to address the emerging crisis, saying the issue is highly sensitive and that a final decision has yet to be made. He did says that at this time no compromise has been reached between Yisrael Beiteinu and the haredim.


Yisrael Beiteinu members confirmed that they asked Netanyahu to promote the bill before the budget's approval. However, they dismissed reports that they issued an ultimatum to the PM.


Meanwhile, Shas members have convened to discuss the matter in a bid to prevent a coalition crisis. A Likud official has acknowledged the issue's sensitivity, saying that all parties involved are "walking on eggshells" in respect to the conversion.




פרסום ראשון: 12.27.10, 21:47
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