Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid have drafted a new joint outline for enlistment of hareidi yeshiva students, which they intend to present to the Likud during the coalition negotiations.
According to a Channel 10 News report on Saturday night, the proposal will impose a quota on the number of yeshiva students who are exempt from army service. However, instead of 400 exemptions as Lapid has demanded, the quota will be extended to 1,500 to 2,000 students.
In addition, the outline calls for the draft for hareidim to be deferred until the age of 21 at the latest.
The hareidi parties have repeatedly stated that they will not agree to a limit on the amount of exemptions for yeshiva students, so if Bennett and Lapid persist in their positions, it is unlikely that they will be able to bridge the gap with the hareidim, making it nearly impossible for all parties to be in the coalition together.
Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid have made a pact, agreeing to enter the coalition together or not at all, in an apparent attempt by both parties to guarantee a coalition ally with similar goals.
Likud has presented the two parties with an enlistment outline of its own, which was authored by Prof. Eugene Kandel from the National Economics Council.
Kandel’s outline is essentially an upgrade of the outline proposed in the past by Minister Moshe Yaalon. It focuses on recruitment goals and not quotas and would extend army recruitment to the age of 26. Lapid has rejected this outline.
On Friday, the coalition negotiation teams of the Likud/Yisrael Beytenu and the Bayit Yehudi met for a discussion that was held “in good spirits”, according to both sides. However, no progress was made that could ensure the Bayit Yehudi will join the coalition.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly told his negotiating team, according to the Yisrael Hayom newspaper, to “do whatever is necessary” to bring the Bayit Yehudi into the coalition.
Meanwhile, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz has reportedly also joined the pact between Bennett and Lapid. The three met on Thursday in Bennett’s home.
Channel 2 News reported on Friday that Mofaz joined the pact because his demand to be appointed Defense Minister was rejected by the Likud.