Zionist Union: Yesh Atid ‘begged’ for motion of no confidence on draft law
MK Yoel Hasson tells Ynet that lawmakers from Yair Lapid’s party, which is expected to vote in favor of the IDF draft law, asked him to turn the vote into a motion of no confidence so they would be able to vote against it; Yesh Atid faction chairman denies claim, says ‘we’ll keep working with the state’s best interest in mind.’
Knesset Member Hasson told Ynet, “On Wednesday I was approached by MKs from Yesh Atid, who asked me, ‘Turn the vote into a motion of no confidence.’ They begged me to do it.”
“I won’t say the names of those who approached me from Yesh Atid. They’re not against Lapid, but they think he’s wrong. So they said to me, ‘Do us a favor, make it a motion of no confidence so we can vote against this law.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the issue Sunday morning in a Likud ministers’ meeting, saying: “We will pass the draft law, barring any surprises. I want to pass everything now. On the other hand, there is a desire to postpone.”
The existing Israeli Defense Service Law expires in September after the High Court of Justice deemed it unconstitutional, and so the Knesset must pass an alternative law before then.
If a new law is not passed to regulate the exemptions of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students, tens of thousands of them are expected to receive IDF draft orders.
The proposed legislation includes planned cuts to the yeshivot's budgets and the use of economic incentives to pressure the Torah study institutions to encourage enlistment, but no criminal sanctions.
Regardless of the claims raised by MK Hasson, the Zionist Union announced Saturday evening that it planned to turn the vote on the law into a motion of no confidence. Tensions increased in the opposition after Yesh Atid declared that it planned to vote in favor of the law. The coalition’s ultra-Orthodox parties, on the other hand, have announced that they will vote against it.
MK Ofer Shelah, chairman of the Yesh Atid faction, said in response to Hasson’s claim: “The Zionist Union, which escaped the Haredi draft vote in the previous Knesset and crawled into the government in the current Knesset, shouldn’t preach us—neither about the draft law nor about opposition activity. Yesh Atid will keep working with the state’s best interest in mind.”
Coalition Chairman David Amsalem denied Sunday that there was any cooperation between Likud and Yesh Atid on the matter. “There is no dialogue between us and Lapid about the law,” he told Ynet.
MK Hasson added that “turning the vote into a motion of no confidence is aimed at closing ranks in the opposition, waking Yesh Atid up a bit and saying to them, ‘You got carried away, you kind of failed to understand your position. You’re supposed to be an opposition.”
But they thing it’s a good law, and they’ve stressed that it’s a law they passed which was cancelled, and now it’s back on the table.
“They are wrong, both in principle and in essence. Why? Because, first of all, this law has no equality and no burden. This plan is a political plan aimed at serving as a bridge to overcome the political crisis. MK Amsalem knows the wording we are voting on now won’t be the wording that will be voted on in the second and third readings, because behind closed doors they will reach an agreed wording with the Haredim and will disregard Yair Lapid, who is now passing their wording.”
MK Amsalem responded, “I’m not talking about this with the opposition. I see this as a good law for the people of Israel. I don’t see it as a coalition-opposition thing. With Yoel Hasson, everything is coalition-opposition. The people of Israel don’t exist. ‘Let’s bring down the government’ is what he cares about. Hasson, as usual, barely speaks the truth.”
Hasson replied, “Why don’t you tell the viewers about your agreement with the Joint List, which will make them disappear or avoid voting against the law.”
“Yoel Hasson is misleading the public,” Amsalem said. “I have never spoken to the Arabs about this. The Arab parties have historically avoided participating in this issue. The Left is only interested in the Haredi issue right now, as if there are no Arabs.”
“What we’re interested in, and that’s exactly what Amsalem said, is to bring down the government,” Hasson said. “In this case, there is a real chance to bring down the government.”
Amsalem replied, “You won’t believe the amount of sweat in the Zionist Union’s feet when we almost went to elections. It’s the same today. They’re trembling and terrified. They are only making sounds of elections. They never intended on it. And if we go to elections, you’ll see they will be the first ones to cry, because half of them won’t make it to the Knesset.”
Amsalem expressed his hope that the draft law would eventually be approved by the Knesset. “At the moment, this law is difficult for the Haredim, so they decided not to vote for it. The Zionist Union and the Left oppose the law, so I understand it’s a good law. If all sides oppose it, it must be perfectly fine for the people of Israel. Every bill we submit eventually goes down to the committees, where it undergoes different changes.”
Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg told Ynet on Sunday, “As an opposition, you have two options. You can either replace Bibi or join Bibi. We have stopped counting the wrongs caused by this government, led by Bibi Netanyahu. Now the question is: What does an opposition do in light of this situation? We have an option of uniting as an opposition and bringing down the government, or to drive a wedge between the different parts of the coalition.
“I have trouble understanding the hand wrestling and mud slinging between e Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay and Lapid, who announced he would support this draft law. Lapid, Shelah and all the Yesh Atid faction members announced over the weekend that they support the draft law, which is bad and is tearing the coalition apart. We have a real chance of driving a wedge between the different parts of the coalition and dissolving the government. I can’t understand this cowardice.”
Don’t you believe them when they say that ideology is more important than politics?
“What ideology is there here? I really find it difficult to understand. All I see is zigzagging and cowardice. And I see somewhere here that the polls may be more important than a real and significant political move that can be done as early as tomorrow. We heard voices from the Haredim saying, with a wink, that they’re against this law but that they actually really like it, and what Lapid is doing here to giving them a very easy way out to save the government from itself.”