israelam news

Israel News for 3-12-18

Coalition Bargaining
After much bargaining and dealmaking, and several failed compromise proposals, late last night PM Netanyahu and United Torah Judaism head Yaakov Litzman reached a compromise agreement whereby the government would support the passing of a draft law exempting yeshivah students and the Haredi parties would support the new state budget for 2019.

The compromise agreement was approved by the UTJ’s Council of Torah Sages, headed by the Gerrer (Gur) Rebbe. The agreement was then approved by the Ministerial Legislation Committee early today and will now proceed to a preliminary Knesset reading.

The only remaining stumbling block to the agreement is Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously said that he would reject any compromise agreement that did not originate in the defense establishment. In the event that Lieberman and his Yisrael Beteinu party vote against the agreement, the Knesset will probably vote to hold new elections. If he votes against the bill, since he his a minister, Lieberman will be fired from his position.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon has said that if the budget is not passed this week, he will resign and withdraw his party from the government, which will also bring down the government and force new elections. The UTJ is demanding the passing of the draft bill before it supports the passing of the budget.

The compromise agreement for the draft bill is based on a framework put forward by Shas MK Yoav Ben-Tzur, which states that a goal will be set of 3,800 Haredi recruits joining the IDF and national service with each recruitment cycle—with their number gradually increasing.

In addition, the bill will omit any sanctions or incentives, instead including an article starting that the government will inspect general draft quotas every five years and if it finds Haredi conscripts failed to meet them, the law will expire.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stressed that after the bill passes its preliminary reading, the rest of the legislation process will be coordinated with the attorney general and with the Defense Ministry.

She said, “The State of Israel is neither a disturbed democracy nor a banana republic. In this crisis, everyone is right and everyone must compromise. The finance minister is right when he says that although the budget doesn’t have to be passed now, a promise has been made to pass the budget and promises must be kept. The Haredim are right when they say that a new draft bill has to be passed, but it doesn’t have to pass three readings right now. There’s still time. And the defense minister is right when he says that the bill has to be coordinated with him.”

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Asylum Providers
Over 2,000 families from kibbutzim and moshavim across the country have pledged to provide shelter to asylum seekers facing expulsion via three different initiatives opposing the government’s plan. A plan is also being discussed to resettle over 1,000 asylum seekers from south Tel Aviv to locations in the north of the country.

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Council Bid Abandoned
Israel has decided to abandon its quest for its first-ever seat on the United Nations Security Council after seeing its low chances of success. Israel had been quietly working behind the scenes for more than a year in an effort to win a seat on the 15-nation council in the upcoming elections in June. However, sources within the Foreign Ministry said that Israel did not manage to muster up the necessary majority and will likely inform its allies to remove it from consideration.

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