Bennett and Lapid reach 'deal' on Haredi draftreached an agreement on drafting Haredim.
According to a Channel 10 report confirmed by both parties, Lapid agreed to Bennett’s request to increase the number of haredim who would be given draft exemptions from 400 to 2,000. He also acquiesced to haredim being drafted at age 21 rather than 18.
Bayit Yehudi representatives will discuss such compromises with their Likud Beytenu counterparts on Sunday after rejecting the Likud’s plan for equalizing the burden of service in a meeting on Friday. At the meeting, Bayit Yehudi representatives also raised the issue of compelling haredim to study the core curriculum, including English and math. Such issues were also raised in a Likud meeting on Friday with Shas leaders.There is absolutely zero chance that United Torah Judaism will agree to a quota system on drafting Haredim. Shas might agree to it if they get to determine who the 2,000 draft exemptions are. But to put this in perspective, 400 was the original number of draft exemptions in the 1950's when the country's population was far less than one fifth of what it is today.
There is even less of a chance that either party will agree to having the 'core curriculum' introduced into their (essentially private - but even most private schools here take government money) schools. And Bennett himself has admitted that English is the only part of the 'core curriculum' that's necessary for the job market and that cannot be made up later on.
Meanwhile, Martin Sherman, who voted for Bayit Yehudi is wondering why he voted for Yair Lapid.
After all, when I cast my ballot for Bennett, I didn’t realize that Yael German, former Meretz member, or Ofer Shelah, the decidedly left-wing former journalist, were of part of the deal. But this is precisely the situation that has been created by Bennett’s decision to march in lock-step on the issue of national service for the ultra-Orthodox with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid list, in which German and Shelah are in the No. 3 and No. 6 slots, respectively.Sherman goes on to expose the real Yair Lapid - and it sounds remarkably like his father Tommy. And then he summarizes the 'accomplishments' of Bennett's pact with Lapid.
I am confident that many supporters of Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi were unaware that they were voting for a“package deal with Lapid’s Yesh Atid, in which Bennett would condition his participation in a Netanyahu-led government on Lapid’s participation.
Had they believed that this was a tangible possibility, it is highly plausible that a considerable number of them, myself included, might well have voted differently.
By insisting on the acceptance of both his and Lapid’s demand regarding universal conscription of the ultra-Orthodox into national service as the sine qua non for his agreeing to join the coalition, Bennett is grossly distorting the will of his voters, and abusing the mandate given him by them.
But as important as this matter is, it was not the cardinal issue for which Bennett and Bayit Yehudi were given the support they received. The primary banner that Bennett’s constituency rallied around was his opposition to Palestinian statehood, opposition which he was slated to spearhead.
This was the fundamental reason that many, including me, supported his party – despite grave reservations, some of which I have expressed on this page, concerning his operational proposal on how this should be undertaken.
True, Bennett and Bayit Yehudi are to be commended for it not being a narrow single-issue faction, and for presenting a multifaceted platform, addressing several vitally important socioeconomic problems plaguing Israeli society. However, these were never perceived or presented, prior to the elections, as being imperatives that had to be satisfactorily addressed before the party participated in a Likud-led coalition.
Certainly, voters were never put on notice that such participation was predicated on the approval of Yesh Atid on any issue – including the ultra-Orthodox one, a.k.a. “sharing/equalizing the burden.”
It is a pact whose only tangible result so far has been to ensconce Tzipi Livni, a politician who has brought incompetence to previously unattained levels, at the head of the crucially important Justice Ministry and of the negotiating team with the Palestinians. Both as foreign minister and head of Kadima, she has shown that no outcome is too disastrous for her to accomplish.Read the whole thing.
It is difficult to overstate the gravity Livni’s appointment might have for Bennett’s constituency.
It virtually ensures the continued animosity of the legal establishment toward the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria and makes the possibility of adoption of the Levy Report, endorsing the settlements’ legality, more remote.
But worse, it diminishes the chances of much-needed reforms to restore the rapidly eroding public confidence in the judiciary and to increase the transparency of funding of Israeli NGOs by foreign governments – both urgently required initiatives, perversely decried by Livni-supportive circles as undemocratic.
Moreover, whatever her substantive authority to advance initiatives with the Palestinians, her formal appointment as head of the negotiation team can only raise the profile the two-state notion, and put greater wind in the sails of its proponents in the media, at home and abroad – especially in light of the inevitable pressure that will accompany Barack Obama’s imminent visit.
As you all know, I didn't vote for Naftali Bennett (or maybe you didn't know...). On Friday, I was speaking to someone who voted for Otzma l'Yisrael, Michael Ben Ari's party that didn't meet the threshold, and whose vote was therefore 'wasted.' The theme of the conversation was 'this is why I couldn't bring myself to vote for any party that's Mafdal (National Religious). They're always short-sighted.' I wonder how many other Bennett voters agree.