Netanyahu Seeking Long-Range Solution to Coalition Crisis Over Draft

Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ). (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Sources close to the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indicated on Tuesday that he has conveyed a message to the heads of the coalition parties via his chief of staff Yoel Horowitz that he is interested in a long-range solution to the crisis caused by the issue of the military draft of yeshivah students, and is not seeking early elections.

“The prime minister does not want a temporary solution to this political crisis, which in another month or two could recur,” the source said according to Channel 10.

Netanyahu spoke by phone Monday night with Minister Yariv Lavin (Likud), who has been mediating with the chareidi and other parties in the coalition.

Horowitz, who is with the prime minister in Washington, represents him to the coalition members.

“We truly do not want elections,” said a source in the Netanyahu entourage in Washington. “Despite the favorable polls, the prime minister says that ‘whereas you know how to get into elections, you don’t know how to get out of them.’”

However, later on Tuesday, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) said that “we are going to early elections. Netanyahu wants it more than we do.”

Sources in the chareidi parties said that there is no coordination with Netanyahu regarding elections, and Rabbi Litzman had inferred from the prime minister’s lack of effort to solve the coalition crisis that he wanted elections.

The UTJ does not want early elections, but is not afraid of the prospect either. Chareidi MK’s will act in accordance with the directives of the Gedolei Yisrael, who have said that support for passage of the state budget must be contingent on prior passage of a law guaranteeing the exemption of yeshivah students from the army.