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Poll: Most Israelis Prefer Coalition without Hareidim

51% of Israelis would prefer to see a coalition without the hareidi-religious parties, a poll released Monday reveals.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/26/2013, 2:15 AM

Knesset
Knesset
Israel news photo: Flash 90

51% of Israelis would prefer to see a coalition without the hareidi-religious parties, a poll released Monday on Channel 10 reveals.

Those Israelis who prefer to have the hareidim out of the coalition would prefer to see a coalition made ​​up of the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi, Hatnua and Kadima.

On the other hand, 35% of the Israeli public supports having the hareidi parties join the coalition instead of Yesh Atid, the poll found. Either way, 76% of Israelis prefer that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu successfully form a coalition rather than for new elections to be held.

The poll also found that 44% of respondents do not see any problem with the party for which they voted being flexible on their principles in exchange for joining the coalition. On the other hand, 33% of respondents said they would prefer that their party stick to its principles, even at the price of being in the opposition.

Reports on Saturday indicated that 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.

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.

Bennett said on Sunday that had the decision to enter into a “pact” with Yesh Atid not been made, his party would have been left out of the government, as this was Binyamin Netanyahu's plan all along.

While the pact was a mutual decision by both parties, Bennett said that for Bayit Yehudi, there had really been no choice. “Without this coordination, Netanyahu would have tried to form a government consisting of Tzipi Livni's Hatnua, Kadima, Shas, Yesh Atid, and the Likud, freezing out the National Religious movement altogether. Such a government would have followed a policy line dictated by Tzipi Livni, including giving up Jerusalem and Ariel, obsessive attempts to surrender land to the PLO, and so on. This is a fact,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page Sunday.