Defense Minister: We won't sacrifice values for Knesset seats

Yisrael Beytenu MKs will vote against draft law, but won't quit coalition unless forced to do so, Defense Minister Liberman says.

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Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Hillel Meir/ TPS

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) on Monday afternoon slammed the new

"All of the ministers in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation were uncomfortable with the law, and none of them, with the exception of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), came to the Knesset meeting today. This law passed like a classic 'fake law.'"

"It's absurd to expect Yisrael Beytenu approve this law," he added, emphasizing that all Yisrael Beytenu MKs would vote against the draft law.

"I don't understand why a haredi or an Arab can't contribute. If they don't serve in the army, they can spend those three years helping in nursing homes. We will all vote against this law."

Liberman also emphasized that despite their opposition to the law, his party members would not leave the coalition of their own volition, and he would not step down from his post as Defense Minister. He did say, however, that if Aliyah and Integration Minister Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu) were to be fired from her post as punishment for opposing the law, his party would quit the coalition.

"I hope this law does not pass. We have a responsibility to be serious, and not to sacrifice our values in exchange for Knesset seats. If we support this law, it will be a betrayal of all those who enlist in the IDF, and their parents," he said.

Last month, UTJ MKs threatened to block the 2019 budget, which must be approved by March 31, unless the government first passed legislation to protect draft deferments for full-time yeshiva students.

Failure to pass the budget by the end of the month would topple the government and force snap elections.

Yisrael Beytenu rejected the new draft law, arguing that the haredi parties' ultimatum is a form of extortion and that legislation regarding enlistment must be drawn up in coordination with the security establishment.