Defense Minister: Haredi demands are just an excuse

Defense Minister Liberman urges haredi parties to allow Draft Law to pass, says they have nothing to gain from early elections.

Michal Levi,

Haredi MKs
Haredi MKs
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday said that the proposed Draft Law represents a rare agreement in the government, and urged the haredim to allow it to pass.

The current government is in a rush to fulfill a Supreme Court-mandated deadline in December to revise a 2015 version of the draft law that exempts many haredi yeshiva students from enlistment in the IDF. The new law passed its first Knesset vote last month, but has not advanced due to haredi opposition.

"The haredim have nothing to gain from bringing down the government - they won't see anything better in the next coalition," Liberman told Army Radio. "I have done everything I was asked to do. The ball is no longer in my court."

"I don't think they'll see anything better in the next government. Right now we have a functioning nationalist right-wing government.

"The haredi demands are not changes, they're excuses. The law represents the consensus in the IDF, and in the opposition in the form of support from [MK Yair] Lapid (Yesh Atid)."

When asked about the possibility that the Draft Law would not pass and the Knesset would hold early elections, Liberman said, "It's worth overcoming the issues and passing the Draft Law" but noted that "the ball is in someone else's court."

Regarding the criticism of Maj. Gen. Yair Golan's candidacy for the position of IDF Chief of Staff, Liberman said, "Golan said outrageous things - but he apologized."

Noting that Golan is "one of the best and bravest" he emphasized that "there is no room for campaigns against [IDF] officers."








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