The coalition crisis over the draft law continues to threaten the Netanyahu government, as the warring sides continue to barricade themselves in their positions. Speaking to Army Radio Thursday morning, Deputy Health Minister and of United Torah Judaism Chairman Yakov Litzman attacked his coalition partners – e.g., Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman – whom he called “insolent.”
“There is a decision of the Council of Torah Sages and there are clear instructions on what to do,” Litzman said, adding, “I respect rabbis. I do not interfere with their affairs (meaning Liberman et al), so they should not interfere with what the rabbis are telling me.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu urged his coalition partners to come up with a compromise military draft law that would gain broad support. Liztman said he had “no idea what the PM wants.” How can you put together a law that reflects both the Yisrael Beiteinu view that all young Haredim must serve, and the UTJ view that no young Haredim should have to serve. It would probably require witchcraft, which is halachically verboten.
Before boarding his plane going back to Jerusalem, following a successful meeting with President Donald Trump and a glorious appearance before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Netanyahu told Channel 2 News: “I am interested, as I always have been, in the original plan, to continue with a stable government for the rest of its term, until November 2019.” In order to secure this, the PM continued, “I said to the coalition partners, that’s what I’m asking you now to do: produce a bill with a broad consensus, which would be acceptable to the Attorney General, and which would pass by more than the usual majority – and also I want to receive the commitment of all the partners that we will continue together until the end of 2019.”
That’s a whole bunch of wishes – he may as well have asked for the six or so police investigations of himself and his close circle of family and friends to go away.
The polls continue to show the Likud as the runaway winner, had the elections been held now, so Netanyahu, despite his police troubles, is able to tell his partners that it’s his way or the highway. The problem is that both Yisrael Beiteinu and United Torah Judaism rely on their loathing for each other to bring own their voters.