Israel’s Kadima party resigns from government - News - European Forum - for Democracy and Solidarity

European Forum

Israel’s Kadima party resigns from government

Wed 18 Jul 2012 Israel’s Kadima party resigns from government

Israel's coalition government has fallen into a political crisis after the largest party Kadima resigned, leaving Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to work with more conservative parties that oppose peace moves with the Palestinians. The moderate Kadima party had joined the government only two months ago, but decided on 17 July to quit over a disagreement on a law which exempts ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from mandatory military service.

The law
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz brought the party into the coalition to work with Netanyahu on ending a contentious, decades-old system that has granted draft exemptions to tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students. The High Court of Justice declared in February that the law was unconstitutional and gave the government a deadline of 1 August to revise the law. Yet the sides were unable to forge a compromise. The draft exemptions in the law have caused widespread resentment among Israel's secular majority, who are required to perform two to three years of compulsory military service. Ultra-Orthodox leaders have been equally persistent in their refusal to compromise, claiming that their young men serve the nation through prayer and study. Mofaz wanted fewer exemptions than Netanyahu and for the ultra-religious to be incorporated much faster than Netanyahu’s proposed gradual approach. The talks were complicated by calls for Israel's Arab minority, who make up about 20% of the population and are exempt from the draft, to be forced into civilian national service.

A coalition of convenience
The break-up is seen as a failure for both Netanyahu and Mofaz, who both get slammed by analysts. "This was a coalition born of convenience. It was two political leaders - Mofaz and Netanyahu - who saw their polls slipping and they realised that by getting together they actually could salvage themselves and not have to go to new elections," says Arab-American Institute President James Zogby. "It was never a marriage born of anything other than two weak leaders trying to save their positions - and now it fell apart for the very reason it came together," he added. Other political analysts are equally critical: “The new government had four goals: pass a universal draft law, change the system of government, jump-start the peace process and pass an emergency budget. 17 July, after 70 days of euphoria, the partnership dissolved without any one of those things being achieved.” says analyst Yossi Verter. “Mofaz’ 70 days as vice prime minister had not a whit of influence on the policies of the right-wing, ultra-Orthodox government. Mofaz knew that, and he tried to cut his losses - but to no avail,” adds Haaretz reporter Aluf Benn, who believes this will be the end of Mofaz’ career.

Elections
Netanyahu will now have to work with a narrow parliamentary majority dominated by religious and nationalist hardliners who oppose concessions to the Palestinians. Netanyahu expressed his regret over the move of the Kadima party: "I am sorry that you decided to give up the opportunity to bring about a historic change. After 64 years we were very close to a significant change in spreading the burden [of army service]," he said. Kadima’s move could set the stage for early elections, a scenario that would paralyse Middle East diplomacy for months, analysts say. Other analysts claim that Netanyahu will still try to reach a deal on the revision of the law.

Sources: AlJazeera, Haaretz, NRC
Photo: Flickr Tzipi Livni (Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz)

Back to news

AlbaniaAlbania

Mon 14 Jul 2014 Albania gained EU candidate status on June 24th, 2014 after reform efforts and encouragements were agreed by the EU's Enlargement Commissioner. This is a key step for a country that still undergoes major corruption and crime issues.
On Sunday 23 June, the 2013 parliamentary elections took place in which the Alliance for a European Albania won convincingly by obtaining 57.7% of the votes (84... Read full update

AlgeriaAlgeria

Mon 14 Jul 2014 In the beginning of 2011, widespread protests broke out over the sudden increase in staple food prices. The government lowered the food prices, but the Arab spring in neighbouring countries inspired labour unions, opposition parties and religious groups to organise large-scale protests across the entire country. In late February, Bouteflika’s government lifted the 19-year state of emergency... Read full update

ArmeniaArmenia

Mon 14 Jul 2014 In contrast to the presidential elections in 2008, which were followed by violent protests and clashes between the opposition and the law enforcement that left 10 people dead, the presidential elections of 2013 were peaceful and calm in nature. With the main perceived opposition challengers not participated, they were marked by a general apathy and a relatively easy victory for incumbent... Read full update

Stay informed. Get the newsflash.

Join our news service. European Forum for Solidarity and Democracy provides news and updates about Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe.
close X

Send this page to a contact


E-mail address recipient

Your e-mail address

Your name

Message