Haredi party threatens to quit coalition

Deputy Health Minister Litzman threatens to bring down coalition if haredi draft law is not passed before the budget.

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Hezki Baruch,

Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov Litzman
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) threatened that if the coalition does not vote for the new draft law, the haredi parties will not vote for the 2019 budget.

The new Basic Law would declare that the study of the Torah has a supreme value. By enshrining Torah study as a "basic value" of the State of Israel, the new law would allow the government to circumvent the court's ruling and enable it to grant draft exemptions or deferments to those enrolled full-time in a yeshiva institution.

"In accordance with Agudat Israel's Council of Torah Sages' ruling that the draft law must be passed before the budget, I will not be able to support the State budget until the draft law has already passed," Litzman said.

"The draft law is an integral part of our coalition agreements, and I expect all parties in the coalition to support it if they desire the coalition to continue."

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman responded, "The draft law is a draft-dodging law. The UTJ's decision is no less than extortion. Yisrael Beytenu will not give in, and will not allow this to happen."

As of Wednesday morning, there will be no preliminary vote on the draft law, and the new Basic Law supporting it, despite the haredi parties' insistence. This is because the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has not yet met to discuss the government's stance on the two laws. Currently, both the Yisrael Beytenu and Kulanu parties oppose the haredi-initiated bills, and there is opposition from within the Likud as well.

As a result, the haredi parties are working to delay the vote on the 2019 budget, in order to ensure their draft law will be advanced as soon as the Knesset's summer session begins.