Friday September 4, 2015
Israel Hayom
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'With all due respect, Netanyahu is prime minister, not Lapid'
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Mati Tuchfeld

Drafting an agreement on the draft

Since the election, Yair Lapid has emerged as the senior partner in the next government. Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) factions have claimed that any law for equality of the burden in society is an initiative that cannot endure. Shas convened a meeting on Sunday and party leaders said their impression was that Lapid was the prime minister elect, not Benjamin Netanyahu. We have not yet heard threats of mass demonstrations by haredim over mass conscription, but there is no doubt that this will happen sooner or later.

It is quite possible, however, that the decisive opposition of the haredi parties to Lapid's plan is just part of the hardening of political positions during coalition negotiations. It is likely that Lapid's plan will be accepted by the haredim in the end because it sets out that for the first five years, yeshiva students will receive a complete exemption from conscription and will be able to go out and work.

After five years, the plan posits, the exemptions for all yeshiva students except for a select 400 will be annulled, and they will have to either join the military or perform national civil service.

There is no doubt that this will arouse strong opposition in the haredi population, but it is not for five more years — after Netanyahu's third government and the 19th Knesset are already gone. Until then, many things can happen. It will be possible to change the law and extend the exemption period dozens of time. If the haredim fear that in the end they will not be able to push off the end of the exemption period and the second part of the plan will be executed on time, we will be in exactly the same position as now.


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