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Netanyahu: Mofaz Gave Up on Historic Opportunity

PM Netanyahu sends a letter to Kadima chairman Mofaz, expresses regret that Mofaz chose to quit the unity government.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/18/2012, 12:14 AM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a letter to Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz on Tuesday evening, expressing his regret that Mofaz chose to quit the unity government.

“I regret your decision to give up on an opportunity to make an historic change,” Netanyahu wrote Mofaz. “After 64 years, we were very close to a substantial change in the division of the burden. I gave you a proposal that would have led to the conscription of [hareidim] and Arabs from the age of 18. I explained to you that the only way to implement this on the ground is gradually and without tearing Israeli society apart, especially at a time when the State of Israel is facing many significant challenges.”

Netanyahu noted, “I will continue to work toward the responsible solution that Israeli society expects” even without Kadima in the coalition.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mofaz announced that Kadima had voted 24-3 to pull out of the coalition because of what he said was Netanyahu’s failure to live up a supposed agreement on changes in the draft law.

Mofaz joined the coalition in early May, making a “universal draft” the party’s main platform. A committee headed by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner discussed proposed legislation to replace the Tal Law, which expires on August 1, but MKs from several parties who opposed the committee's conclusions left the panel.

Netanyahu dissolved the committee, arousing the ire of Mofaz, who the following day brought out Plesner to announce the proposals. The suggested legislation concentrated on hareidi religious youth, with heavy sanction against those refuse, while only vaguely relating to the Arab sector.

Mofaz threatened to leave the coalition if the party's hard-line version of the enlistment law is not legislated and has now followed through on his threat. Likud minister Moshe Ya'alon said that Kadima's bill reflects the fact that Plesner “wants war” with the hareidim.

Netanyahu’s associates said in private conversations this week that the Prime Minister regrets having added Kadima to the coalition.

The associates hinted that the Likud party is considering calling an election next January or February at the latest.