Politicians and activists praised Kadima head Shaul Mofaz’s decision to pull his party from the ruling coalition Tuesday.
Boaz Nol, one of the leaders of the Suckers’ movement that has led the struggle for universal conscription, congratulated Mofaz on his decision to quit the coalition — and urged Yisrael Beytenu to be the next to leave the government.
Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Nol accused Netanyahu of being a cynical politician. “He and his partner, Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), played us soldiers like pawns in a chess match.”
“The prime minister had the largest coalition in Israeli history. He had a tremendous opportunity and he chose not to do anything with it. He chose to waste it,” said Nol. “The pressure now goes to [Avigdor] Liberman.”
Yisrael Beytenu is trying to push through a bill mandating military service for all, including ultra-Orthodox and Arabs, at age 18. The bill is seen as having little chance of making it into law.
“As soon as [his] legislation fails, we call on him to immediately quit the coalition. That is his commitment to his constituents,” Nol said.
Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich, who will likely soon be replaced by Mofaz in her role, said she was happy with the move.
“Kadima has retired from the coalition and it’s the end of the shameful, miserable union between it and Netanyahu,” she wrote on her Facebook page. She cited the union as one of the most “embarrassing events in Israeli politics” that replaced values and ideology with “small-minded politics of survival and schemes.”
Former Kadima head Tzipi Livni, also praised the move on her Facebook page: “The political partnership that was born in sin has ended – and good that it ended. There are no more fig leaves to cover the moral failure of this government. The people of Israel are better than the government that represents them.”
Likud’s Ofir Akunis also welcomed the move, though for different reasons.
“Goodbye to Kadima — and we won’t see you later,” he said. ” From the start Kadima did not enter the government with clean hands and all it looked for in the coalition was protests and divisiveness.”
Though Kadima left over Netanyahu’s refusal to accept all of Kadima’s recommendations for a new universal draft law, a senior member of religious Shas party said the prime minister had gone too far to appease Mofaz.
“The bottom line is that soon, for the first time in Israel’s history, there won’t be an arrangement for the status of yeshiva students. It is Netanyahu’s fault, who went to far to appease Kadima on issues that are simply unrealistic.”
“Kadima’s departure from the government — much like its entrance into the government some 70 days ago — isn’t interesting and doesn’t change a thing,” added the Shas official.