Photo Credit: Flash 90
"Deputy" Health Minister, Ya'akov Litzman

The coalition crisis which threatened to topple the Netanyahu government and send the country to new elections has been stabilized, as least for now.

The haredi-religious Council of Torah Sages which dictates the actions of United Torah Judaism has approved a new draft bill agreement negotiated between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “Deputy” Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman.

Letter from Council of Torah Sages

The draft – produced by Shas MK Yoav Ben-Tzur – was approved by the head of the Council, the Gerrer Rebbe.

The ruling by the top haredi-Orthodox rabbis means their politicians – including Litzman — will vote for the budget, thus most likely ending the coalition crisis for now.

The bill is now to be placed on the docket of the Ministerial Legislation Committee for 9 am Monday, and from there to be sent to a preliminary reading in the Knesset.

Members of the Yisrael Beytenu party led by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman will not be required to vote for the measure — which sets a goal of 3,800 haredi-religious recruits to the IDF and national service for each draft cycle, with that number gradually increasing.

The bill does not include any sanctions or incentives: instead, there will be an article requiring inspection of the general draft quotas by the government every five years. If the haredi population fails to meet the targets, the law automatically expires.

A political crisis still exists with the defense minister; Liberman refuses to vote on bills not designed by defense establishment professionals . Moreover, he has threatened to have members of his party vote against the bill – and he might vote against it himself. Should that happen, it is likely he’ll be fired – which would leave the government without a defense minister.


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