Haredi MKs
Haredi MKsFlash 90

The leaders of the haredi parties discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when elections would be held if the Supreme Court did not grant the government an extension for drafting the Draft Law, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

In such a situation, the Knesset would disband in October, and elections would be held in January 2019.

The proposed Draft Law determines recruitment targets for haredim, which grow in number every year, and imposes economic sanctions on yeshivas that do not meet these recruitment targets. Another clause states that the law will be repealed if the haredim fail to meet the recruitment targets for three consecutive years.

Kikar Hashabbat quoted a report from the haredi Mishpacha newspaper in which Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) and MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) distanced themselves from Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman's (UTJ) stance, offering to remain in the coalition even if Litzman left.

Gafni is part of UTJ's Degel Hatorah faction, while Litzman represents the party's hasidic Agudat Yisrael faction.

"We have full backing from our Torah sages," Gafni and Deri said. "We will remain a coalition of 62 until the end of our term."

However, Netanyahu refused their offer, saying the haredi parties should "attempt to work it out between themselves."

"If it were up to me, I would either pass the Draft Law before the end of the summer session, or hold elections," Netanyahu told them.

In 2017, the Supreme Court threw out a 2015 law which removed limitations on draft deferments for full-time haredi yeshiva students. At the same time, the Supreme Court gave the Israeli government until September 2018 to pass a replacement. Without new legislation passed by September, thousands of yeshiva students could find themselves unable to renew their annual deferments, making them potentially liable for the draft.