Kadima Party votes to quit Israeli gov’t

Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz speaking at a news conference in Petach Tikvah about Kadima's reasons for leaving the Israeli government coalition, July 17, 2012. (Flash 90)

Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz speaking at a news conference in Petach Tikvah about Kadima’s reasons for leaving the Israeli government coalition, July 17, 2012. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Kadima Party voted to quit Israel’s government coalition.

The Knesset members from Kadima voted 24-3 on Tuesday night to leave the government after negotiations broke down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party over a universal draft bill. Kadima had joined the governing coalition just two months ago.

On Tuesday, Shaul Mofaz reportedly rejected an offer from Netanyahu that would have drafted half of the age-appropriate haredi Orthodox men into the military and the other half into national service. 

At a news conference announcing the decision to leave the government, Mofaz said that he rejected the idea of deferring national service until age 26 as opposed to Kadima’s proposal that limited the draft deferral to age 22.

The parties have been meeting to find an alternative to the Tal Law, which grants military exemptions to haredi Orthodox Israeli men. In February, the Israeli Supreme Court declared the law to be unconstitutional and set Aug. 1 as the deadline for a new law to be passed.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Monday that he would extend the Knesset’s current session, and not send lawmakers on summer break as scheduled on July 25, until a conscription law that includes the haredi Orthodox is drafted.

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