Coalition mulls future of haredi draft law - without haredi MKs

As gov't prepares to resume talks over haredi draft law, Netanyahu gathers coalition leaders. But haredi MKs say they will boycott meeting.

David Rosenberg ,

Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting December 16th 2018
Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting December 16th 2018
Marc Israel/Sellem

Coalition leaders are expected to gather in the Prime Minister’s Office Monday afternoon to discuss the future of the so-called ‘Haredi Draft Bill’ – though haredi lawmakers appear to be poised to boycott the meeting.

With negotiations on the draft bill set to resume Tuesday in a special committee tasked with reviewing the bill, Prime Minister Netanyahu has called faction leaders from the coalition to meet with him Monday afternoon in his office.

But haredi lawmakers, who have expressed criticism of the current bill, have indicated they will not participate in the meeting Monday.

“Netanyahu has chosen to side with Avigdor Liberman and Yair Lapid rather than with us,” said United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev in an interview with Army Radio Monday.

“They [the coalition] isn’t planning to make any changes to the bill. The Likud has flip-flopped in the past two months.”

The Netanyahu government has given its backing to a bill drafted at the behest of former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The proposal would largely keep in place the open-ended draft exemptions for full-time yeshiva students, while requiring that induction quotas be met.

Yeshivas failing to meet their quotas would face financial sanctions, while the draft exemption system would be nullified under the bill if the haredi community as a whole fails to meet the quotas.

The bill must be passed by January 15th, when a Supreme Court order from 2017 goes into effect.

In 2017, the court threw out a 2015 amendment to the draft law which removed key elements of a 2014 law passed at the behest of then-Finance Minister Yair Lapid, limiting the draft deferment system.