ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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UTJ minister to Netanyahu: Make good on promises to ultra-Orthodox or go home

Senior Haredi lawmaker Meir Porush says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should leave office if he cannot shepherd through laws that will exempt the Haredi community from mandatory military or civilian service.

Porush, a minister from the United Torah Judaism party, accuses Netanyahu of not standing by various coalition agreements, including extra funding for Haredi schools and making sure the Haredi community got its get-out-of-serving-your-country-free card before dealing with passing a national budget.

“Why did we sign coalition agreements? So they won’t happen?” he asks in an interview with Haredi news site Kikar Hashabbat. “I don’t get Netanyahu. How long does he want to look ridiculous?”

“Why did I bother helping create this coalition, to hear the same excuses from Treasury officials we got in the Bennett-Lapid era? Why did we bother having elections?”

The comments marked one of the first cracks in Netanyahu’s largely disciplined far-right, religious coalition.

Porush also appears to deny reports that Netanyahu recently requested that the draft exemption effort be pushed off until after the government manages to pass a budget, and says the premier has no choice but to come through.

“When won’t we need to be afraid [of complying with laws regarding mandatory service]? And if we must be afraid, then Netanyahu must say he cannot be prime minister because ‘I cannot give you what you need.’ He should say that,” Porush says.

“Netanyahu can’t say ‘I can’t.’ You can’t? So don’t be prime minister. What is this you can’t? Go home. What, you can’t?”

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