Coalition crisis:
Bennett 'very optimistic'

Bennett: 'Next week we'll be able to solve Draft Law crisis.' Gafni: 'I could solve this within 10 minutes.'

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Hezki Baruch - Mordechai Sones,

Bennett and Gafni
Bennett and Gafni
Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) today addressed the coalition crisis surrounding the Draft Law.

"The heads of all parties in the government are interested in preventing being dragged into an election campaign that will cost Israeli citizens billions of shekels, and therefore we're all working together to advance a law that will allow a gradual haredi return to the draft.

"I'm very optimistic and estimate that by the beginning of next week we'll be able to solve the crisis and continue responsible management of the country," added Bennett.

Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said today that the Draft Law crisis is completely solvable. "There's no reason why no solution can be found, but apparently no one's interested in it. There's no deep crisis here that can't be solved."

Gafni added "we believe that Torah scholars - anyone whose 'Torah is his profession' - needs a deferral; we've always said that. The Supreme Court rejected this. It must be prepared, which takes some time. Turning it into an irresolvable issue is a joke. I could solve the problem in ten minutes. I don't know anyone who doesn't want to solve it. We received no offer, neither did Aryeh Deri get one."

Last night, the Prime Minister presented an ultimatum to coalition partners regarding the recruitment crisis and demanded a long-term solution that would allow the government to continue until the end of its term and not go to elections.

MKs of the Degel HaTorah party, part of the United Torah Judaism party, will meet today with Torah Sages to decide whether to reach a compromise on Draft Law issue or maintain their position not to transfer the budget without their demands being met.


The coalition crisis began last week, when haredi lawmakers warned the Prime Minister that they would refrain from voting for the state budget, potentially denying the government a majority on the critical vote, if legislation securing army deferments for yeshiva students is not passed. Failure to pass the spending plan could lead to the dissolution of the Likud-led government and new elections.

The "Draft Law" would include a new "Basic Law" enshrining Torah study as a basic value of the State of Israel, thereby allowing the government to circumvent a 2012 ruling by the Supreme Court. The ruling, made in response to a suit filed by secular Israelis, declared allowing haredi yeshiva students to defer army service to be discriminatory.