As reported extensively on GreaterLakewood, the Israeli coalition process is complex and requires everyone to work together to hit the number 61. Yisroel Beiteinu was already demanding top portfololios in addition to a new draft law which would put UTJ in a tough spot. UTJ received 8 seats and Leiberman’s party received 5 but both are needed for the coalition to have 61. According to a report by Yisrael Hayom on Wednesday, UTJ is in talks with Yisroel Beiteinu regarding the draft law. UTJ would accept the draft of a bill proposed by Yisrael Beytenu in the previous government – with the addition of a new article.
Previously, the bill drawn up by a committee of security officials at Yisrael Beytenu chief and then-Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman had largely protected the draft deferment program for yeshiva students, but included sanctions on yeshivas for failing to meet draft quotas, and included a clause nullifying the law if the haredi community as a whole failed to meet draft quotas for an extended period of time.
According to the new report, the UTJ party is willing to accept the bill, provided it be modified to include a provision declaring that any individual yeshiva student who wishes to study Torah will be permitted to do so.
In exchange for backing the draft bill, UTJ is reportedly demanding support for an amendment to Israel’s Basic Laws, with a bill which would establish Torah study as an officially recognized value. This alteration to the Basic Law would, UTJ lawmakers say, prevent the Supreme Court from striking down the draft law.