Naftali Bennett is ‘optimistic’ that government crisis will end by next week

In response to threats of an early vote, Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett said that he believes the government crisis will soon come to a close. No one wants to waste “billions of shekels” on an election, he said.
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett Photo Credit: Mati Milstein / The Israel Project via Wikimedia Commons

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett said today that he believes the government crisis will come to a close. “I am very optimistic and believe that by the start of next week, we will have solved the crisis and will be back to responsibly leading the country,” he said.

His comments come in the wake of a clash between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman over the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Ultra-Orthodox MKs are refusing to sign the proposed budget before an agreement is reached. On Tuesday evening, officials close to Litzman said that he believes Netanyahu wants to call an early vote, as reported by Israel’s Hadashot news.

Bennett further stated that no one wants a costly vote. “All the party leaders want to prevent being towed along into an election that will waste billions of shekels in taxpayer money,” he said. “And so we are all working in unison to advance a law that will allow a return to the stepped structure for ultra-Orthodox conscription.”

The Prime Minister handed the coalition partners an ultimatum last night: either find a long-term solution or hold a vote. The MKs from the Degel HaTorah will meet today with the Torah Sages in order to receive instructions on whether to hold out on their demands to not serve in the military or whether to capitulate and sign the budget. According to them, students studying Torah in yeshivas are fulfilling an important societal need, equivalent to that of soldiers in the IDF.

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