Vice Prime Minister and Kadima party chairman Shaul Mofaz said Monday the drafting of the new universal conscription law is proceeding well and he is hopeful the legislation will be ready by the weekend.
“We are proceeding along the right course, the direction is positive,” Mofaz told Channel 2 news.
However, he added that any failure by the government to pass the recommendations would end with Kadima high-tailing it out of the coalition.
Several MKs have expressed concern that the coalition may not cobble enough votes together to pass the measure, which aims to mandate universal service for all sectors of society. Coalition partner Yisrael Beytenu has said it will not vote for the bill unless it mandates universal service at age 18, an unlikely addition. Recommendations currently under consideration would give ultra-Orthodox men until age 22 to enlist.
Ultra-Orthodox party Shas is also expected to vote against the bill if it includes sanctions against draft-dodgers.
Mofaz told Channel 2 that fines would be part of the bill being drafted by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon of Likud.
Mofaz said that he expects that by 2016, 80 percent of the ultra-Orthodox population will serve in either military or civil service. He added that the latest age for conscription will be 22.
Mofaz also said the new legislation would include service terms for Arab Israelis.
“We stand on the verge of a new social contract,” said Mofaz.
Mofaz stressed the urgency of the legislation that is expected to replace the outgoing Tal Law, which for 10 years provided ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students with a framework for exemption from service. The measure was struck down by the High Court earlier this year as unconstitutional.
Plesner and Ya’alon said Sunday they hope to have a draft law by the middle of the week, with the government looking to vote on the measure early next week. The Tal Law expires on August 1.