The Kadima party, which just weeks ago joined the ruling government, voted Tuesday night to leave the coalition, citing an inviolable dispute over the terms of Haredi enlistment to the army.
Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz made the announcement after the party voted 24 to 3 to leave the government led by Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud party.
Netanyahu's coalition had swelled to 94 members and there were high hopes that the long-simmering issue of Haredi enlistment to the army would once and for all be put to rest. But party leaders could not come to agreement on the terms of the deal.
According to Ynet, the Netanyahu government insisted that Haredi youth be drafted no earlier than the age of 26. Kadima was reportedly willing to allow a military draft of Haredim at the age of 22, but no older.
Haaretz reports that the Netanyahu proposal would allow Haredi yeshiva students to defer the army until the age of 23. However, after the age of 23, these students would no longer qualify for army service. Instead, they would be enlisted as police officers, fire fighters, and other civil service positions. Mofaz rejected this idea.
Since the Tal law, which allowed Haredi students to continue to defer army service, expires on August 1, in theory the army could begin drafting all able-bodied 18 year olds after that date.
If this latest round of political machinations sticks, the Netanyahu government may be forced to turn to elections in the early part of 2013.
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