Jerusalem – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday ordered the parties in his coalition to start working next week on an alternative to the “Tal Law” that would enable thousands of yeshiva students and Arabs to perform military or civilian national service.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the new law would gradually equalize the burden of service and enable more Jews and Arabs to enter the workforce without dividing any sectors of the population. A coalition task force on the matter will be led by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner.
New Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid took credit for Netanyahu’s and Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz’s new enthusiasm for drafting yeshiva students as well as for changing the electoral system.
“The coalition deal signed this week looks remarkably like the principles we published when we got started four months ago,” Lapid told his party’s activists in a rally at Kibbutz Shefayim. “I think we made a significant contribution to putting these issues on the political agenda. I will concede credit to him if the prime minister does as he promised and, by July 31, replaces the Tal Law with a law that says that every 18- year-old, whether haredi, religious or secular, will go to the induction office and enter the army or civilian service.”
But Lapid expressed skepticism that the government would change the Tal Law or fulfill any of the commitments in the coalition agreement between Likud and Kadima.
“They won’t do it,” he said.
“How do I know? Because if they wanted to, they had all the time in the world to do it, they had the votes in the Knesset, they didn’t just arrive in Israel. They have been in power for a long time and they didn’t do anything. Suddenly they care?” Asking the reporters in the crowd to pass on his message to the prime minister, Lapid dared Netanyahu to take immediate action, saying that with a 94-MK coalition, nothing should stand in his way.
“You have nothing to fear anymore,” he told Netanyahu.
“You don’t have to fear the parties in your coalition because they can leave and you won’t even notice. You don’t have to fear the opposition because it no longer exists. You only have to fear us, the public. Now you can decide your identity without fear.”
Lapid said he was aware that he was on the list of the losers from this week’s political events drafted by political analysts. But he said the Likud-Kadima deal only strengthened his nascent party, which will now have more time to grow and prepare for the next election.
“This coalition was born in sin, [created] by a prime minister who bought his partners in a discount sale,” Lapid said.
“He bought Kadima’s 28 seats for the price of the eight mandates they have in the polls now. He bought them cheap because of Mofaz’s fear of elections.This is the oldest, worst kind of politics, the most instinctive and cynical. I don’t believe them for a minute. They don’t have a bone of ideology in their bodies.”
Lapid reiterated that he was not interested in bringing politicians into his party. He made no mention of former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and former Kadima council chairman Haim Ramon, who have expressed interest in running with him. Lapid said he would not reveal his list of Knesset candidates until three months before the next general election.
“There are good politicians,” he said. “But the spice of life is new people with new ideas.
We need to bring new people with new ideas into the political system. They will be impressive people, I promise.”
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post