Leaders of the "suckers" campaign for equal share of the burden harshly criticized Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. "With all the past week's U-turns, any other driver would have had their license revoked," National Student Union chairman Itzik Shmuli said referring to Netanyahu's zigzagging.
Speaking at a press conference Shmuli said "We are dizzy with the prime minister's zigzag. He created the Plesner Committee, then dissolved it, rejected its conclusions, then accepted them, created a new team and is now backing away from the agreements. It's time, prime minister to stop using big words and start making decisions."
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Shmuli expressed concern that in a number of years those who serve in the IDF become a minority. He repeated his demands: conscription age set at 18; a quota of up to 1,500 exemptions for yeshiva students; incentives for recruits and denial of benefits for draft-dodgers. He noted that draft-dodgers are already being arrested for evading service.
One of the leaders of the protest, Boaz Nul, added, "There is one law that says that everybody serves. The prime minister is trying to reach a bizarre compromise for a second Tal Law and that cannot happen." Nul announced that a rally will be held on Saturday.
Activists hold press conference
Idan Miller, another leading activist, said, "Minister Ya'alon's statements exposed the prime minister and the entire government's true face. He announced a divorce from the Israeli public. We got tens of thousands of people on the street and this will go on. But we won't stop there. We were told that Bnei Akiva and the hesder yeshivot are working with us. The prime minister will see some yarmulkes in the next protest. "
Miri Baron of the equal share of the burden forum said, "We are calling on all decision makers – don't test us. Show accountability for the sake of Israel's future. Act for the benefit of the state and not for narrow political considerations." Another activist, Reuven Agassi, remarked, "Stop dealing with your Mercedes cars and deal with our problems."
After the press conference, Miller told Ynet that nine Kadima MKs have committed to opposing the draft bill if it does not lower the conscription age to at least 21 and does not define a quota of 1,500 exemptions, even if Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz endorses it. "This means the government won’t have a majority to pass the bill."
Talks between the Likud's Moshe Ya'alon and Kadima's Yohanan Plesner broke down on Wednesday after Kadima claimed that Netanyahu backed out on the agreements. The two met again on Thursday but made no progress. Following the meeting, Yaalon estimated that there will be no legislation by the time the Tal Law expires on August 1.
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