As sources with the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu parties confirm Wednesday night that an agreement bringing Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party into the coalition was imminent, some haredi political leaders expressed concerns over Liberman’s likely appointment as Defense Minister.
Opponents of Liberman’s appointment cited his strident support for the Draft Law, passed by the previous Knesset, which curtailed draft deferments for religious students.
One senior United Torah Judaism official conveyed the fear some haredi leaders have of the prospect of Liberman running the Defense Ministry.
“Liberman as Defense Minister would be a disaster for the haredi public as far as the Draft Law goes,” the source told BeHadrei Haredim.
The official noted that prior to the passage of the law, Liberman was one of its most ardent supporters.
“Let’s not forget that in 2013, we went to new elections because Liberman insisted on passing a draft law targeting haredim. Liberman as Defense Minister would be a disaster for haredi Judaism, since every law gives the Defense Minister discretion on whether or not to draft yeshiva students.”
Chairman of the Finance Committee, Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), responded to reports of Liberman’s imminent entry into the government by reminding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of his obligations as per existing coalition agreements not to reinstate the original, more stringent, Draft Law.
Last week Gafni admitted that he was working to bring the left-of-center Zionist Union party into the coalition – and have the Jewish Home removed.
“I’m working to have the Jewish Home party taken out of the coalition, and to bring in the Zionist Union,” Gafni said