Ultra-Orthodox leader says he’ll topple government if enlistment bill passed

The leader of an ultra-Orthodox party threatened Monday to carry down the coalition if a bill regulating necessary navy service for members of the non secular group turns into legislation.

“If the enlistment law passes three readings, we will quit the coalition,” Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who heads the United Torah Judaism party, mentioned on the Knesset.

His risk got here as lawmakers had been set to vote on the laws later Monday, within the first of three readings it should go earlier than changing into legislation.

Litzman mentioned the choice to oppose the legislation was made by the Council of Torah Sages from his Hasidic Agudat Yisrael faction. It was not clear if Degel Hatorah, the non-Hasidic ultra-Orthodox faction in UTJ, would additionally stop the coalition if the bill passes into legislation.

The coalition, which has 66 of 120 Knesset seats, wants UTJ’s 6 seats with the intention to protect its majority.

Israel's universal draft is one factor behind the low peacefulness rating. Here, soldiers are being sworn in to a religious IDF unit. (photo credit: Photo by Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

Ultra-Orthodox troopers being sworn in to a non secular IDF unit. (Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

The bill would formalize exemptions to necessary navy service for ultra-Orthodox seminary college students by setting yearly conscription targets. Seminaries that fail to satisfy the targets can be hit by financial penalties underneath the laws.

“We’re against sanctions and all types of other things in this law,” Litzman mentioned. “We must reach a situation that anyone who wants to study at a religious seminary in Israel… will be able to continue studying undisturbed.”

He additionally mentioned his opposition to the bill is not going to be influenced by the opposition Yesh Atid party’s help for it. “I’m sure that no one thinks or dreams that if [Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid supports this bill, we’ll support it,” Litzman mentioned.

Though UTJ and fellow ultra-Orthodox coalition party Shas oppose the bill in its present model, Yesh Atid’s backing for it means it would possible clear its first studying afterward Monday. A failure to go the bill might portend the government’s collapse.

MK Yair Lapid leads a faction assembly of his Yesh Atid party on the Knesset on July 2, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Lapid has drawn fireplace from the opposition Zionist Union for supporting the bill, with lawmakers from the party saying Yesh Atid can be saving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Lapid has argued that the laws is near a related bill his party had instructed up to now. Key variations are that the present bill doesn’t name for felony sanctions towards college students who dodge the draft — solely financial penalties towards the establishments the place they examine — and in addition has a decrease quota for the variety of ultra-Orthodox who can be drafted every year.

The controversial laws is the product of a Defense Ministry committee report printed final month. The ministry referred to as the plan “a durable, realistic and relevant arrangement” for ultra-Orthodox conscription. The proposal units minimal yearly targets for ultra-Orthodox conscription that, if not met, would end in monetary sanctions on the yeshivas, or rabbinical seminaries, the place they examine.

The challenge of ultra-Orthodox enlistment has lengthy been a contentious one in Israel, revolving round a decades-old debate as as to if younger ultra-Orthodox males learning in yeshivas needs to be referred to as up for obligatory navy service, like the remainder of Israel’s Jewish inhabitants.

In September 2017, the High Court of Justice struck down a earlier legislation exempting ultra-Orthodox males who had been engaged in bible study from navy service, saying it undermined the precept of equality earlier than the legislation. However, the court docket suspended its resolution for a yr, to permit for a new association to be put in place, giving the government the chance to go the brand new legislation by September 1, 2018.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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