Should the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu joint list form the next government, it will do away with a contentious system of draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Wednesday.
Ayalon said the outgoing government failed to meet a Supreme Court order to abolish the exemptions because of objections by the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party. He added the situation has changed now that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party joined forces with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud. Shas would have to agree to a universal draft, or “they won’t be part of the government.”
Shas has been intent on keeping the current system, which allows ultra-Orthodox males to skip compulsory army service to pursue religious studies.
New elections are scheduled for January 22.