Mofaz and Kadima Party Exit Historic Israeli Coalition
Nearly two months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck a deal with Shaul Mofaz of the Kadima party to form one of the most definitive majority coalitions in Israeli history, Mofaz and Kadima voted to withdraw from the ruling coalition over a failure to reach agreement on military service for Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews) and Israeli Arabs.
“It is with deep regret that I say that there is no choice but to decide to leave the government,” Mofaz stated. “It wasn’t easy to enter it, I paid a personal political price but this issue is fundamental, and there is no choice but to leave the coalition. Every concession will harm Kadima’s image.”
The issue of required military service for Haredim and Israeli Arabs has split the Knesset between those who believe every Israeli citizen should serve in the IDF, and those who believe that these groups should not be required to serve in whole.
“Right now there are no solutions which command a majority in the Knesset,” a source with knowledge of Israeli government discussions on the matter told The Algemeiner.
Netanyahu and Mofaz have negotiated on a compromise that would allow legislation to be passed on the military service issue but the two leaders could not reach an agreement. Mofaz has insisted that all Israelis enlist in the IDF once they reach the age of 22 while Netanyahu, under pressure from political parties who oppose this idea, could not agree to such a move.
“The Haredim and Arabs, they are not compromising, and now we see Mofaz doesn’t want to budge from the recommendations of the committee,” the Israeli source said. He was referring to recommendations given by a government appointed committee which supported universal military service for all Israeli citizens.
Many Israelis want a compromise but they understand the complexity of this issue, including the logistical problems posed by Haredim recruits. One such example given to the Algemeiner is that the Haredim would ask that women not instruct or command male recruits.
“The majority of the population is passive on this, they would like the Hardeim to do something but it’s not such an important issue to them,” the source said.
24 out of 27 Kadima Members of Knesset voted in favor of leaving the coalition.