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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The shortest national unity government evah?

When we last left the Plesner Committee, its Haredi representative had just joined the Yisrael Beiteinu and HaBayit HaYehudi parties by resigning over the failure to include Arabs in the recommendations. Prime Minister Netanyahu disbanded the committee two days ago, but given that Plesner is now the be-all-and-end-all of the Kadima party, which is in a fight for its life, Plesner released his report on Wednesday anyway. Now, Shaul Mofaz is backing Plesner by threatening to withdraw from the coalition if Plesner's recommendations are not implemented. This is from the second link.
Water and Energy Minister Uzi Landau said that the committee’s choice not to deal with Arab enlistment brings “unequal equality.”

“It is strange that the enlistment of haredim, who make up eight percent [of those who don’t serve], is obvious, while national service by Arabs, who make up half of those who don’t serve, is seen as illegitimate,” Landau stated.

The Yisrael Beytenu minister also pointed out that the number of secular Jews who do not serve in the IDF is significantly higher than the amount of haredim.

“Everyone should learn these numbers,” Landau said. “Yisrael Beytenu will oppose any partial recommendations and all attempts to soften the blow, as Plesner and his friends did.”

Landau called for the Knesset not to miss a “historic opportunity” to bring all Israeli citizens into “the army of the people.”

MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that the Keshev Committee marks Kadima’s end, because rather than seek to end inequality, Plesner was more concerned with pleasing his party’s Arab voters.

“The people of Israel are sick of seeing Arabs sit back while a small percentage of the population carries the whole burden,” Danon stated. “All Israeli Arabs must do national service.”

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On called the report “Kadima’s swan song,” saying that it is meant to “strengthen their pointless partnership with [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu.”

“Instead of proposing a bill to bring equality, the report is meant to purify discrimination,” she stated. “Mofaz is a ‘paper tiger’ who creates fake crises and threats to leave the coalition to keep Kadima alive.”

Yesh Atid founder Yair Lapid accused Plesner of giving “discounts” to different sectors in society, such as postponing haredi enlistment to age 23, preventing equality.

“This is an impractical outline that will prevent many from enlisting,” Lapid said. “Expanding the number of those who serve and requiring it of all 18 year olds, is necessary in order to stop Israeli society from breaking apart.”
The Haredi representatives weren't very happy with the recommendations either.
“There has never been such a pile of evil and maliciousness as this document,” said MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism). “Plesner’s personal position was [already] known to us, and his conclusions were known from the outset,” he added.

Plesner said during the press conference called to unveil the final document that in order to implement this principle, the document recommends personal fines for those refusing to serve; the withdrawal of state benefits they may have been entitled to such as housing benefits and municipal tax breaks; and the cancellation of the monthly NIS 850 state paid subsidy granted to full time yeshiva students.

In addition, anyone refusing to serve would get a criminal record.

According to a report in Maariv, spiritual leader of Shas Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef told the party’s political leader Interior Minister Eli Yishai that the imposition of personal sanctions on yeshiva students would lead to Shas quitting the coalition.

UTJ Chiarman MK Yisrael Eichler warned that Israel could experience sectarian conflict similar to that of its neighbors if conscription is not ended and a professional army established in its stead.
But Kadima seems determined to push ahead, proving once and for all that they hate Haredim more than any other party in the Knesset. Kadima party chairman Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday asserted that the implementation of the Plesner Report is a condition for his party staying in the government.
"The ball is in Prime Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu's] hands and he has a matter of days," Mofaz added, declaring that "the Plesner plan is the only plan."

In his report published earlier Wednesday morning, Plesner recommended that 80 percent of ultra-Orthodox participate in national or military service within four years and that personal and criminal sanctions be imposed on those who do not serve.

Although Netanyahu dismissed the Plesner committee earlier this week after a number of its members quit in protest of various issues, sources close to Netanyahu said Tuesday that he would nonetheless use its recommendations as the basis for a new law.

While offering several tracks of service for haredi men, the report recommends that service be defined as a personal responsibility, and that failing to complete it result in criminal proceedings and/or a fine and the loss of potential government benefits.

The report further suggests limiting the number of haredi men who can receive "permanent [student]" exemptions from civil or military service to 1,500.

In addition, it contains a recommendation to shorten the service required of haredi men to 24 months. Currently, men are required to serve three years in the IDF. A civil service track would be shortened to 18 months.
Mofaz seems to forget that his party went into the coalition because poll after poll showed it being wiped out by elections. Maybe he thinks that by waving a red flag at the Haredim, he can draw more votes from other secular parties. I doubt it. Labor seems to be coming back, and both they and Meretz have a longer and richer history of baiting the Haredim than Kadima has.

But we could yet have the shortest national unity government evah....

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At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are good reasons to have ultra-Orthodox serve in the army or do something other than study. They do live in Israel. They are not all scholars. They are all citizens and there is nothing ennobling about living on the dole supplied by pork-eaters they despise. The suggestion to draft Arabs is intended from the get-go as an ironic jest. Sure another Israeli coalitions may fail in the inbred game of political musical chairs. And then the music will start up again and the same players will commence another round of merry-go-round. It's the Alice in Wonderland Caucus Race with humus.

At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what does this pooch know?. At last word Bibi is going for an Arab draft to keep the present coalition alive and forge the rule of equal obligations for all.


“The recommendations today include important principles and go in the right direction, but a more solid response is needed especially on the issue of Arabs,” Netanyahu said. “My intention is to bring a combined law to bring about a large rise in haredi and Arab service that can pass in the Knesset and be implemented.”

Basic training in Israel is going to be very interesting indeed. Best wishes to every סמל who has to shepherd a מחלקה composed of Jewish recruits from Tel Aviv, Yesh, and Geula, and Arab recruits from Balad strongholds if basic training isn't segregated by social origin--but then you have to lower your sights on using Zahal as a means to socially integrate Israeli society in order to protect the unity of Zahal from the fault lines of that society.


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