Moshe Gafni
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Shelly Yachimovich
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Israel Eichler
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Tzipi Livni
Photo: Noam Moskowitz

'No one will win universal draft war'

Knesset members across political spectrum blast Plesner Committee's report on haredi, Arab's service alternatives. Religious MKs say it's 'evil'; Meretz chair deems it 'Kadima's swan song'

"There has never been a report quite as evil as this one," MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said Wednesday, shortly after the Plesner Committee released its recommendation on universal draft.


The committee, tasked with devising an alternative to Tal Law, was dissolved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, but chose to release its findings nonetheless.


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"This report is malicious. Then again, MK Plesner's personal views were known to us so the findings are not surprising, he added.


Gafni said that just as the report demands yeshiva students to serve in the military to promote social equality, "The same equality demands that the higher education budget be cut and that students that don't serve in the IDF be subjected to individual sanctions."


"נתניהו פיתח את שיטת הקמת הוועדות לצורך מסמוס החלטות לדרגת אמנות" (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

Kadima's swan song? MK Plesner (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


"This report is a hoax," Opposition Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said. "It is of no value and is all part of Kadima's political puppetry.


"I have no doubt that Plesner meant well, but his good intentions have been shattered by his party's alliance with the Likud, which was meant solely for the sake of political survival. Netanyahu never had any intention of finding a solution to the (draft) issue – he's too busy with political juggling," she said.


Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On echoed the criticism, saying that the report was "Kadima's swan song. This worthless report from Plesner and (Deputy PM Shaul) Mofaz is designed only to allow Kadima to continue its useless presence in the Coalition."


Recommendations predetermined?

Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai added that the Plesner Report's "Sole purpose was easing Kadima's fear of elections."


Yishai further said that the "committee's report is an amateurish effort which overlooks the complexity of this important issue."


MK Israel Eichler (UTJ) added that the recommendations "Are proof that the committee's findings were predetermined and aimed only at eradicating the yeshivas' funding.


"Anyone who doesn’t want to see Israel turn into the likes of Syria and Lebanon must find a way to release all citizens from mandatory military service.


"No one will win the draft war," he continued. "The only way to end the war waged on the haredim is to end mandatory draft and reward those who do serve – regardless of rank.


"The army, like the police and hospitals, will not lack for people, who would be happy to earn descent wages. Any other way will only bring about strife and contention."


Hiddush CEO Attorney Uri Regev said that the report "included brave and necessary steps, like sanctions, alongside completely unreasonable stipulations, like deferring the draft ages.


"The fact that Netanyahu was unwilling to adopt even Plesner's compromise proves that he would rather preserve his coalition with the haredi parties over drafting yeshiva boys – and for that he is willing to sell out his constituents and miss a historic opportunity for universal service.


"History won't forget this. We can only hope Netanyahu's voters won't either," he concluded.


Former Kadima Party Chair Tzipi Livni also commented on the report, saying: "Every Israeli citizen – secular, haredi, and Arab – must perform military, national, or civil service when they reach the age of 18.


"We need to change the system so that our children won't be the suckers of the State of Israel. The High Court of Justice has given us a rare chance for change and we can't be satisfied with just a cosmetic fix."


Attila Somfalvi, Boaz Fyler, Moran Azulay, Tomer Velmer and Kobi Nahshoni contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 07.04.12, 11:29
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