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As Yaalon put it: “We are seeing a positive process in the haredi world—we are seeing more and more of them in the army, studying [general subjects]and working—these are things that we never saw before….”
Mati Tuchfeld, a columnist for Israel’s popular conservative daily Israel Hayom, had harsher words, writing:
it was obvious that Mofaz never intended to legislate a mandatory ultra-Orthodox military draft or to reform the system of government. His only goal was to extricate his party from the certain doom that awaited it in the imminent election…. It is now clear that the only version of a mandatory ultra-Orthodox enlistment law that Kadima would have supported would have been [one that prompted] the ultra-Orthodox parties to quit the coalition…. When Mofaz realized that this was not going to happen, he got up and left. The negotiations between Kadima and Likud over the last two weeks were nothing more than a charade….
Who’s right? Has it been Netanyahu playing cynical games, or Mofaz and Kadima?
A piece of what could be called smoking-gun evidence suggests it’s the latter. As Israel Hayom revealed earlier this week, just two months earlier Kadima had submitted a bill opposing stiff punishments for draft evaders and—no less—calling for a haredi enlistment age of 26. On the day of that report, July 15, a Likud cabinet minister already said that “Kadima wants to dismantle the partnership; everything is just a game.” Netanyahu replied: “There’s a lot of truth to that.”
One can also ask if a dispute over the age of enlistment, along with some other points of disagreement, was really so grave a rift that Kadima had no choice but to bolt—or was looking to do so all along.
In any case, Israel is now left again with a narrow coalition while the Middle East is literally exploding around it. But if Kadima is incapable of showing national responsibility, perhaps it’s best that it’s out of the picture and likely on the way to electoral oblivion.
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