Netanyahu May Call Elections Amid Military Service Dispute


netanyahuUpdate, 4:30 p.m. IDT: Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said he may call early elections because of disagreements with parties within his coalition over military service exemptions for chareidim and Arabs.

Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud Party that the escalating disputes over military service may lead to national elections within a few months instead of in 2013 as scheduled, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat told Israel Radio.

“The prime minister said in a very clear manner that he will not give in to extortion and if various factions make various demands then we’ll have elections this year,” Livnat said today.

Israel’s Supreme Court in February invalidated the Tal Law that has enabled more than 50,000 students a year to avoid being drafted for military service, which is obligatory for Israeli Jewish men and women. Shas and United Torah Judaism are demanding a restoration of deferrals. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beitenu party, has led opposition to the deferrals and is demanding that Arab citizens perform alternative non-military service.

Netanyahu has pledged to introduce a revamped measure to insure universal national service — either in the military or civilian alternatives.

Arab Enlistment

Netanyahu said his proposal will require that Israel’s Arab citizens, who make up almost 20 percent of the population, will have to perform national service. Although some members of the Druze and Bedouin communities serve in the army, most Arab citizens are exempt from the draft.

“The Tal Law will be replaced by a more egalitarian and just law, and I will submit it,” Netanyahu told veterans today, according to a statement e-mailed from his office.

Many Arab citizens object to Israel as a Jewish state and complain that they face discrimination by the government.

{With reporting by Bloomberg/ Newscenbter}


  1. Our son, a product of chareidi yeshivos, made aliyah and joined the Nachal Chareidi-Netzach Yehidah division of the Israeli Army. He says they have seperate glatt kosher kitchen, separate shul, they daven 3 times a day during basic training and are excused from shaving during sefirah. They have rabbis who visit them and give chizuk.