'Haredi lawmakers are to blame for political crisis'

Yisrael Beytenu rejects accusations it is responsible for failure to form government, calls on Likud to pressure haredi parties.

Hezki Baruch ,

MK Oded Forer
MK Oded Forer
Hillel Meir/TPS

Avidgor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party on Wednesday rejected claims that it is responsible for the ongoing political crisis and accused haredi lawmakers of blocking the establishment of a Likud-led government.

With just hours to go before the Wednesday night deadline for forming a new government, Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer blasted the Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, blaming them for the stalled coalition talks which could force Israel to new elections just months after the 21st Knesset was voted in.

“Let it be clear, the ones who are blocking the formation of a government are the haredi parties who insist on sticking their finger in the eyes of the public that serves in the army and does reserve duty,” said Forer on Wednesday.

According to the Yisrael Beytenu MK, the haredi draft law which was drawn up in the previous Knesset has been accepted by haredi lawmakers, who now are simply refusing an arrangement whereby they would leave the Knesset plenum while the bill is voted on, enabling it to pass.

“The compromise arrangement under which they won’t vote on [the bill] is reasonable, and the problems they are creating by sending Israel back to elections is their fault. I suggest the Likud focus its pressure in the right direction, instead of aiming it at us.”

The secular right-wing Yisrael Beytenu has pushed for the passage of a draft law which would pressure haredi yeshivas to meet draft quotas imposed by the law.

Haredi lawmakers have pushed back against the proposal, calling instead for an amendment to Israel’s Basic Laws which would override Supreme Court opposition to the present draft deferment system.

Unless the Likud can broker a compromise between the two sides by Wednesday night, Netanyahu’s mandate for forming the next government will expire.

The Likud has vowed to dissolve the Knesset before that mandate expires, thus preventing President Reuven Rivlin from tasking the Blue and White party with forming a government.