In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated that the future of the government lies solely in the Prime Minister's hands, and in fact the crisis in question is nothing more than a "fake crisis".
Asked whether there are going to be early elections or not, she replied: "It depends on the Prime Minister. The draft crisis has actually been resolved. We reached an outline with the haredim, one that is stricter than the existing law, so I am sure that Yisrael Beyteinu, if they go into the details, will see that they can live with this plan."
When asked to explain the outline in question, Minister Shaked says: "The existing law is based on the recruitment targets set in the previous government with Lapid (Yesh Atid party head who wanted criminal proceedings againt haredi young men who did not report to the draft and was overruled,ed.). This law was repealed by the Supreme Court, and we added various actions that the government will take if the haredim fail to meet their goals. The Defense Ministry is working today with the existing law, and it will certainly have no problem acting according to the changes in the new law, making this whole crisis is a sham. There is a solution. The haredim don't like it but can live with it. There's no reason not to stabilize the government until next year."
The coalition crisis began last month, when the United Torah Judaism party warned Netanyahu it would not support passage of the 2019 budget unless the government backed a UTJ-backed amendment to the Draft Law enshrining Torah study in a Basic Law.
And what about Defense Minister Liberman? "It's true that Liberman's position is problematic, but let's face it, the law can be passed without Yisrael Beyteinu's support. If Liberman for his own reasons decides not to support the law, even though this is a law that tightens the existing situation, it's still possible to pass the law without him without dragging the country to elections."
Regarding the Defense Minister's position, Shaked was asked whether Liberman could continue to serve in the government after a crucial law on army service is passed contrary to his position. Would he be able to face his constituents after such a move?
"Liberman wants coordination with the defense establishment, and it's quite possible to pass the law in preliminary reading, and then advance the law in coordination with the Defense Ministry. This is what we do with a good many laws, and therefore there's also a solution to the matter at hand. In the end, it's the Prime Minister's decision whether he wants to drag the country into unnecessary elections or to preserve the right-wing coalition.
"History shows that when the right toppled its own government, the alternative has always been worse," recalls Shaked.
What about Minister Bennett's remarks about the possibility of running against Netanyahu, remarks that drew fire from the Likud? The Likud responded to his statements, stating that this proves that Bennett's last interest is the government's stability, and that Bennett wants to bring down the Prime Minister and take care of himself. To this, Minister Shaked replied that the words attributed to Bennett are not what he said.
"This is not what Bennett said; listen to the interview and you'll see he didn't say that. He said that as long as Netanyahu is working to strengthen the government, he'll certainly support the government, but if he leads the country to personal and unnecessary elections, we'll consider our options.
"The truth needs to be told; Bennett and I were the only ones who worked last week to solve the crisis, and we wouldn't have worked so hard to solve it if we didn't think it was possible and that it is the right thing to do."
Shaked was asked about the very discourse Minister Bennett is presenting, according to which he intends to run for Prime Minister in the post-Netanyahu era. How can a party of 8 or 14 seats achieve this? "We aren't there now, I think the crisis is solvable, and the government can function for another year-and-a-half... I also hope the Prime Minister emerges from all the complications. At the moment the goal is to stabilize the government and the Prime Minister can do it."
As for the Prime Minister's meeting last night with the haredi representatives, Shaked believes that things have been worked out with them and now Netanyahu wants to talk to Liberman. "On the face of it, the outline is acceptable, and now he has to sit with the Defense Minister."
Last night, Netanyahu and the heads of the haredi parties met over the issue of the Draft Law. During the meeting it was clarified that three conditions must be met in order to solve the crisis surrounding the Law: The drafting of a law that would be agreed upon by the attorney general and all the haredi parties, the agreement of Kulanu to support the law until its final enactment, and a commitment that the move would leave all parties in the coalition.
Toward the end of the conversation, Shaked was asked about the National Union and the long-awaited meeting that has not yet taken place to unify the two parties. She talked about the fact that the Jewish Home party holds primaries to decide on its list of candidates while the National Union has a prepared list agreed on by its central committee. "There's no reason why I and MK Mualem (Jewish Home) have to run in primaries while Knesset Member Smotrich's place is protected, and this is the main reason that there has been no unification of the two parties up to now. "All in all, that's where it stands and we have to find a way that'll be acceptable to everyone. It's definitely solvable."
Solvable how? "We have to sit down and see if we can reach an agreed-upon outline." And when will this happen? Shaked doesn't have a timetable, but pointed out that the issue of primaries is the only bone of contention between the two parties, and that this is a "bridgeable gap".