First rift in new Israeli coalition09/05/2012 - 11:28:09
The first splits have appeared in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expanded coalition, just a day after the Israeli leader brought the main opposition party into his government.
Mr Netanyahu and his new partner, Shaul Mofaz, pledged yesterday to do away with the current system of automatic draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men.
Secular Israelis oppose the exemptions and the Supreme Court has ordered the government to end the system by August 1.
But today, two members of the new coalition expressed disparate stances.
Ultra-Orthodox politician Moshe Gafni warned of a possible “cultural civil war” if the exemptions are lifted, while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who heads a secular party, said there can be no “foot-dragging” on the matter.
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