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      Mofaz: It's Me or Netanyahu

      Opposition leader MK Shaul Mofaz: the real battle in the next election will be between me and Netanyahu.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 4/30/2012, 2:16 AM

      MK Shaul Mofaz
      MK Shaul Mofaz
      Flash 90

      Opposition leader MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said on Sunday that the real battle in the next election will be between him and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Channel 2 News reported.

      Speaking at a Kadima conference in Petah Tikva, Mofaz said, “All the other parties, even Yisrael Beytenu and Labor, do not have candidates for prime minister.”

      Mofaz, who said he believed that the earliest possible date for elections is October 16, added, “We will rally all the forces in Kadima. The Israeli public will have to decide between an alternative government under my leadership and the option that Netanyahu will be prime minister for another four years without providing an answer to Israel's urgent problems.”

      Mofaz’s comments come as speculation continues that Netanyahu will call an election soon. One of the speculations is that the coalition may fall because of disagreements on the Tal Law that regulated the exemption from service for hareidi yeshiva students.

      On Saturday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he will present a universal national service law to the Knesset to replace the Tal Law.

      Lieberman threatened that his party would leave the coalition over the matter of the Tal Law. "We are a responsible party," he said. "We did everything to preserve the coalition. The best date for elections is the original date, but we are not hostages."

      In what may have been a response to Lieberman’s threat, Netanyahu later said that he will not hesitate to hold elections if the coalition partners try to blackmail him.

      On Friday it was reported that Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich plans, in a few weeks, to submit a bill calling to dissolve the current government.

      Yechimovich, who recently indicated she intends to run for the position of prime minister, said that “after three years of Netanyahu's government, Israel has reached unprecedented gaps between poverty and wealth.”

      Yechimovich added that the current government has brought about “galloping erosion in the situation of the middle class” and “an international record for employment of contract workers.”

      Political officials had said that Yechimovich’s proposal was coordinated in advance with none other than Netanyahu himself, but she has denied any coordination with Netanyahu on the issue.