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Netanyahu Ready for Personal Sanctions on Service Evaders

Netanyahu meets heads of coalition parties, says he would be willing to impose personal sanctions on hareidim who evade service.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/6/2012, 1:15 AM

Netanyahu and Mofaz
Netanyahu and Mofaz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that he would be willing to impose personal sanctions on hareidim who evade service. Army Radio reported that Netanyahu made the comments during talks with the leaders of the coalition parties.

Earlier, Netanyahu met with Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz. During the meeting, which lasted for about an hour, the two discussed the new Draft Law. The report said that the two agreed to continue to talk and may meet again over the weekend.

The new Draft Law has created a crisis in the coalition. The Draft Law committee headed by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner announced its recommendations at a press conference on Wednesday morning, following a blow-up between Mofaz and Netanyahu, who dissolved the committee this week following internal dissension.

Plesner said he wants to heavily fine hareidi religious youth who refuse to enlist in the IDF but issued only general guidelines for the Arab sector.

Netanyahu later said he concurred with the committee's most contentious recommendation, adding that “one who shirks” in his obligation to do military service, Netanyahu said, “will not receive the same benefits as one who serves.”

Mofaz strongly rejected Netanyahu’s welcoming of the Draft Law committee's recommendations, charging Netanyahu with “evading the challenge of correcting the injustice of giving an exemption to the hareidi population.”

Mofaz has issued a clear ultimatum to Netanyahu to adopt new draft law proposals if he wants to keep Kadima in the coalition.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Netanyahu met to discuss the issue with Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman told the Prime Minister during their meeting that the Plesner Committee’s conclusions are unacceptable to him and that he will demand that everyone, including Israeli Arabs, enlist at the age of 18.