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Netanyahu: 'No to Civil War'

Prime Minister's unusual allusion to civil war regarding hareidi enlistment issue may be a positive signal to hareidim.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/2/2013, 9:52 PM

Netanyahu at Presidential Residence
Netanyahu at Presidential Residence
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Saturday night of the danger of a civil war in Israel, in a speech he delivered after receiving the presidential nod to assemble the next coalition. The unusually harsh terminology is in line with the warnings of hareidim against attempts to coerce hareidi men into military service, and could be a signal that Netanyahu intends to include hareidi parties in his coalition.

Netanyahu said that the main national mission is stopping the Iranian nuclear weapons drive.

He added that he would strive to solve the question of hareidi military service, which he said "is tearing the nation apart and leading to a civil war."

This is almost precisely the same language that Shas spiritual guide Rabbi Ovadia Yosef used at the week's end, in a plea to President Shimon Peres to use his influence to avoid a coercive solution to the enlistment debate.

He called on all of the Knesset's factions to join the coalition. "We must be united," he said.

"This is a great privilege and a great responsibility," he said. "In the last four years, we have sailed through a global economic crisis and an unprecedented regional upheaval because we established one of the most stable governments in Israel's history, but the security crises, and general crises, which surround us, have not ended. They have become more intense, and they pose challenges to us, the likes of which we have not faced for many years."

The Likud coalition negotiation team will begin its talks with other parties on Sunday. The first party expected to be summoned is Yesh Atid, followed by Bayit Yehudi and Kadima.