Brain Bush’s Blog

A Politician’s Fight

  • By : Brian Bush
  • July 6, 2012
  • 7:48 pm

Hello All,

As is the way of Israeli politics there is yet now another threat to bring down the government of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

In my blog yesterday, I wrote about what has become the all consuming issue here in Israel – mandatory military/civil service for all the citizens of the State.

The core of the issue is that some religious communities – mainly the ultra-orthodox Jews do not serve. A second issue that is dividing Israelis is obligating Israel's largest minority, that of the Arab community in Israel, to service.

There have been several attempts in the past to promote equality in Israeli society with all communities bearing the social burden. However, drafting the ultra-orthodox has always been a non-starter for politicians – who need their votes.

Attempts in the past to change the law that states that they do not have to serve have all failed because none of Israel's Prime Ministers wants to take on the single most powerful voting block in the country – they all vote as told to by their leader.

The report released yesterday calls for 80% of all ultra-orthodox to be drafted within five years, with a (roughly) $2000 fine for those who evade service along with the imposition of personal and institutional sanctions.

This report has caused quite a controversy. The committee who formed it was appointed by Mr. Netanyahu – who has turned around and declared it (the committee) dissolved two days ago.

The head of the committee went ahead and released their conclusions anyway.

Many believe Netanyahu has gone to far by interfering – including the Kadima Party Chairman who saved Netanyahu's government (and political skin) by joining the current coalition.

Mr. Mofaz released an ultimatum to Netanyahu – calling on there to be transparency and an equal sharing of the duty of military service or he will resign from the coalition which will bring down the government.

The urgency of the crisis for Netanyahu is reflected in the fact that negotiations on finding a compromise have already begun.

Everyone, from Israeli Defense Force reservists to high school seniors (who are to be inducted into army service), are saying to Mr. Netanyahu not to give to the ultra-orthodox and are demanding a more just division of the burden of service to society.

As for the ultra-orthodox, their leader has said they will leave the government if Netanyahu goes through with making them serve in the army
And will certainly abolish Netanyahu's ability to control his government.

Sadly, the whole thing now seems to be a politician's fight for gathering ground rather than the 'greater good' of duty to one's country.

The principle of service lays the groundwork toward creating a state where no one is more or less equal than anyone else.

Everyone should be involved in building the civil society, because then all will have equal rights and equal obligations.

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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