With coalition talks officially underway, some in the Habayit Hayehudi party are worried that party leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid have already agreed on a joint stance over the hot-button issue of mandatory national service for the ultra-Orthodox.
In July, several prominent rabbis who are associated with the party publicly denounced the so-called Plesner Report, named after Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner whose plan would have haredi men perform national service once they reach the age of 22. In a public letter, they urged the government to ensure that haredi yeshiva students would not be forced to interrupt their studies and continue to enjoy their effective exemption from the military.
Among the signatories were Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, Samaria Regional Council Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Har Hamor Yeshiva head Zvi Yisrael Tau, Beit El Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Petach Tikva Ashkenazi Rabbi Micha Halevi, and others.
"It is doubly important to bolster the study of Torah and to support the yeshiva students at this point in time, when the State of Israel's spirituality is being threatened in the most severe possible way," they wrote.
Or Etzion yeshiva head Rabbi Haim Drukman recently met with Bennett to discuss the matter. When Israel Hayom inquired as to the content of the meeting, he said, "Ask Bennett."
Asked about what he thought about the haredi draft issue, Drukman replied, "I trust him [Bennett] to make sure that everything will be just fine; you have to take care of the Torah study world. There are two big mitzvot — to study Torah and to serve in the military."
People close to Drukman told Israel Hayom that he "understands that things must change, but Lapid has taken it to an extreme."