Israel's haredi parties have remained surprisingly calm throughout the political drama that has been unfolding Tuesday. One haredi source told Ynet that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new coalition partner Shaul Mofaz was not anti-haredi.
"He's not (former Kadima leader) Tzipi Livni, but someone who joined the government because he had no other choice, and that is why there is no doubt in our minds that any yeshiva student who wants to go on studying the Torah and not join the army will be able to do so," he said.
The heads of the ultra-Orthodox parties said they were not concerned about Kadima's new role in the coalition. "Netanyahu won’t do anything foolish because he has to maintain the historic alliance with us," Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said. "Kadima will not be the same after the elections, it will shrink and then he will need us. I actually want to praise (Netanyahu) for the decency he showed towards us in this recent move."
Addressing the calls to replace the expiring Tal Law with legislation that would obligate all Israelis to either enlist in the IDF our join a civil service program, Yishai said, "We'll find an alternative that will be agreed upon by all sides. It doesn't appear that the army really wants to recruit haredim. Today it can recruit another thousand haredim, but it does not do so – also due to economical considerations. The High Court of Justice did not determine that everyone must be recruited, but that the current situation must be changed – and we will make changes."
As for Mofaz's call to change the system of government in order to reduce the influence of the smaller factions, the Shas leader said, "I do not believe this will threaten these parties' existence. Mofaz is also aware that (changing the system) could hurt Kadima in the next elections."
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said he supports a unity government "not because I'm afraid of elections, but because I would like to continue the ongoing process of (implementing policies). Netanyahu promised our faction that the coalition agreement would not be altered, so the statements regarding a replacement for the Tal Law or a change in the system of government have no bearing on the haredi parties and their constituencies.