New coalition crisis brewing over Draft Law revision

November 19, 2015  

After passing the major hurdle of approving the state budget, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government may be facing a new coalition crisis on Thursday.

Likud MK Yoav Kish has reportedly threatened to vote against any changes to the law requiring all 18-year olds – including haredi yeshiva students – to serve in the IDF.

Kish, who has been one of the leaders of the “equal burden” protests demanding that yeshiva students serve in the army, is a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday, he said that he would not approve the bill in the Committee when it is discussed Thursday, and he will not vote for it when it comes up for a second and third reading.

In response, the report quoted officials from haredi parties United Torah Judaism and Shas saying that they would have “no problem” leaving the government over this issue.

“We will not agree to any changes in the law,” a source in UTJ said. “If the law is not passed in its current form or if it gets stuck in the committee, we will leave the government. There is no room for compromise on this matter. The Prime Minister promised that the law would be passed and we will insist on this.”

Kish, as one of 61 coalition MKs, might be able to tip the balance against passage of the law, assuming all 120 MKs vote on the bill along party lines.

In the past, Arab MKs have abstained from votes regarding IDF service, since they do not serve themselves, but coalition officials fear that this time they might be tempted to participate, given the opportunity to remove Netanyahu from the Prime Minister’s Office.

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