Warning: Illegal string offset 'url' in /home/bicom/public_html/wp-content/themes/britainisraelcommunications/single.php on line 14

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sizes' in /home/bicom/public_html/wp-content/themes/britainisraelcommunications/single.php on line 16

Warning: Illegal string offset 'article-large' in /home/bicom/public_html/wp-content/themes/britainisraelcommunications/single.php on line 16

Coalition talks deadlocked over conscription bill

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held emergency meetings last night with party leaders to try and break the deadlock in talks to form a new government.

Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman refused to attend the meeting, which resulted in the Likud criticising Lieberman and warning that he could prevent Netanyahu from forming a right-wing government by the 28 May deadline.

The main obstacle to an agreement is the conscription bill to recruit more people from the ultra-Orthodox community into the army. One senior Likud source said: “The crisis over the military conscription law is just an excuse for the fact that Lieberman doesn’t want to join a Netanyahu government at all. [Lieberman] lied to his voters. He promised to form a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu and in practice, he is shifting right wing votes to Tamar Zandberg and to Ahmed Tibi.”

Yisrael Beiteinu responded that a new right-wing government could be formed if the ultra-Orthodox parties drop their objections to the conscription bill, as it was passed in a first reading in the last Knesset, with the support of the Likud and the other coalition parties.

United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev said the ultra-Orthodox parties would not agree to the current wording of the military conscription law, which he said: “Constricts the right and the obligation to study Torah”.

Lieberman himself said in closed-door meetings: “I don’t intend to compromise on the military conscription law. And I am not willing to change a single full stop or letter in it.”

Sources at the meeting said Netanyahu now intends to press ahead on forming a coalition of 60 MKs without Yisrael Beytenu. Lieberman said he would vote against a coalition of 60, because: “It would not be a right-wing government but a haredi government that would make Israel into a state of Jewish law instead of a Jewish and democratic state”.

Netanyahu’s prospective coalition includes Likud (35 seats), two ultra-Orthodox parties – Shas and United Torah Judaism parties (8 seats each), the United Right (5 seats), Kulanu (4 seats) and Yisrael Beiteinu (5 seats).

If Netanyahu fails to form a coalition, President Reuven Rivlin will hold consultations with the heads of all the parties to either ask another party leader to form a government or recommend new elections.