Sofa Landver
Sofa Landver Hillel Maeir/TPS

Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu) on Sunday discussed the crisis in the coalition over the draft law.

"First and foremost we think of the State of Israel. Everyone should serve in the army. It is important that the outline be based on the advice of security personnel,” said Landver who spoke to journalists on the sidelines of the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah event in New York.

She added that the elections should be held on time, in 2019, and that it was a pity that the coalition had deteriorated into the current situation.

Minister Landver clarified that the chairman of her party, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had not closed a "deal" between them in order to leave the defense portfolio in the hands of Yisrael Beytenu.

"We did not talk about jobs in the next government, it's irrelevant now to talk about positions," said Landver, who stressed that "there is no option of union with the Likud. We are running alone. All the other talk is speculation."

Landver was asked whether there was a chance that her party would recommend Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid or Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay as a candidate to head the next government instead of Netanyahu, and replied, "We are not yet in an election campaign. We were and we remain loyal partners of the prime minister."

Yisrael Beytenu has refused to support a draft law pushed by haredi parties United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas, with Liberman calling haredi demands “extortion” by “extremist elements” he said had “taken Israel captive”.

On Sunday night, the Council of Torah Sages of the Agudath Israel party gave a green light to promote the version of the draft law initiated by MK Yoav Ben Tzur (Shas) in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. Efforts will now be made to convince Liberman to back the new version as well.

In her remarks on Sunday, the Immigration and Absorption Minister also discussed the Nefesh B'Nefesh immigration fair that is taking place in New York and which allows thousands of Jews from North America to prepare to make Aliyah to Israel.

"To date, Nefesh B'Nefesh has brought 55,000 Jews to Israel and I admire their work. Every year, 30,000 Jews from all over the world immigrate to Israel, of whom 7,000 are returning immigrants," said Landver.