Yaalon Expects Bayit Yehudi to be in Coalition
Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud / Yisrael Beytenu) believes that Bayit Yehudi, the religious Zionist party, will be a member of the 33rd Israeli government.
In an interview for Besheva Magazine, Yaalon was asked if the strained relations between Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett and Binyamin Netanyahu – as well as Netanyahu's wife, Sarah – will keep Bennett from joining the coalition. Yaalon replied, "Why deal with hypothetical situation? I estimate that the Bayit Yehudi will be in the coalition."
Yaalon noted that despite Netanyahu's Bar Ilan speech in which he spoke of a demilitarized Palestinian state, the Arab side has refused Israel's overtures. "That is why I suggest that we not fight between ourselves over something that is imaginary at this point, because there is no partner on the other side that is even willing to come to the table based upon the Bar Ilan speech."
Asked if he believes that a formula can be found that would place Yair Lapid, who insists on a coercive plan regarding hareidi enlistment, into the same government with the hareidi parties, he replied in the affirmative.
"Certainly We can reach an outline that will bring about an increase in the equality of bearing the burden (of military service), mainly by increasing the number of hareidim who serve in the IDF or in national and civilian service, as well as Arab service, mostly civilian service.
"These things are already happening in recent years. The proof is that from 90 (hareidim) serving in 1999, and 300 in 2007, there are now close to 3,000 who serve in the IDF and in national and civilian service, and another 2,400 Arabs who serve in national civilian service.
"If we open more service tracks, we would be able to open up positions for more people to serve. That is why I believe it is proper to set growing goals from year to year, rather than saying how many Torah students will remain (exempt). There is an obligation to gradualness. After 64 years, you cannot solve the problem with the thrust of a sword. The military, and the work market, has to prepare itself for a growing civilian service."
Yaalon said it was necessary for both Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and the hareidi parties to show flexibility in the matter. He estimated that it was possible to achieve this, not just with Shas but also with United Torah Judaism.