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Israeli PM says draft conscription bill move in the right direction

English.news.cn   2012-07-05 05:19:51            

JERUSALEM, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday lauded recommendations from Plesner committee which is in charge of drafting a new conscription bill.

"We are moving in the right direction," said the prime minister about the panel's advice on replacing the decade-old Tal Law, by which ultra-Orthodox Jews could avoid the mandatory military service.

"The haredim (ultra-Orthodox) must be integrated in military service and both haredim and Arab-Israelis must be integrated in civil service," Netanyahu said while discussing the panel's recommendations.

The prime minister also stated that those who dodge the draft will not receive the same treatment as those who do it, and that he expects to see a "dramatic increase" in the numbers of ultra- Orthodox Jews and Israeli-Arabs joining the service, local Ynet news service reported.

However, Kadima party, who has been pushing for a new legislation on the matter, was not pleased with his statements.

"There is only an attempt to spin the story for the media. The gaps are so massive that Netanyahu's statements are void," a Kadima source told Ynet.

Kadima chief and Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, who recently joined the Likud-led government, threatened on Wednesday to step out of the coalition if the new legislation did not pass and gave Netanyahu an ultimatum of a few days to accept the panel's recommendations.

Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres met Wednesday with a lawmaker from the religious United Torah Judaism party, who opposes the new legislation, to try to reach a new deal to replace the Tal Law.

The new legislation could create a political schism in the government's ranks, with ultra-Orthodox parties rallying against it and Kadima threatening to leave the coalition if it does not pass.

In a bid to cool down the situation, Netanyahu will meet Mofaz this Thursday and start to discuss the new bill with coalition members.

Editor: yan
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