Mofaz and Kadima MKs
Mofaz and Kadima MKs Israel news photo: Flash 90

Kadima ramped up its rhetoric on Tuesday as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proposed an alternative to its universal military service law.

Calling the Prime Minister's proposal "Netanyahu's truancy law," the once-again largest opposition party also implied Netanyahu was shirking his national duty.  

The new Kadima campaign bears the slogan: "Go Serve, Draft Dodger Netanyahu!"

"In exactly one week the Tal Law expires, and Netanyahu is not and will not pass the universal service law. He is dodging the draft," Kadima said in a statement.

We call on Israelis to "oppose Netanyahu's truancy law, which favors draft dodgers over the middle class who do their duty and pay their taxes," the statement continued.

Kadima added, "Kadima aligns itself with the Zionist majority, and demands that there be equal distribution of service to the state by all citizens."

The campaign, advertised on some 800 municipal buses across Israel, will last two weeks.

Last week, following a heated internal faction debate, Kadima lawmakers voted to end their short-lived unity government with Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.

The decision came after the collapse of talks between the two parties on a law that would induct both Hareidi and Arab citizens into Israel's military, or national service programs.

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon (Likud) had described the differences between Kadima and Likud as "very narrow" before Kadima pulled out of the last-ditch talks.

Netanyahu had previously disbanded a committee led by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner tasked with replacing the controversial Tal Law, which exempted ultra-Orthodox men from military service.

The committee had fallen into disarray as coalition partner's wrangled over the exact formulation of Israel's national service law.

In his letter to Netanyahu this week, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz wrote, "We concluded that you do not intend to adopt the principles of natural justice, distributive justice, equality before the law, and the moral principles that underlie universal service by all."

The Prime Minister's Office did not respond to Kadima's new campaign, which equates Netanyahu with draft dodgers.

For his part, Netanyahu served as a team leader in one of Israel's elite special forces units, the Sayeret Matkal, with whom he undertook many missions.

Among them, Netanyahu famously participated in the hostage resuce raid on the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972, during which he was wounded.

He also took part in numerous cross-border assault raids during the War of Attrition. 

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War he fought in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, and then led a commando team deep into Syrian territory.