Israel's Kadima party on Tuesday quit the coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a dispute on military conscription for ultra-Orthodox Jews.
But the exit of Kadima, the largest party in the 'Knesset' (Israeli Parliament), would not threaten Netanyahu's government as he still enjoyed majority support in the House, media reports said.
Kadima, which joined the governing coalition only two months ago to avoid an early election, failed to strike a deal with Netanyahu's Likud party on scrapping the Tal Law that exempted seminary students from conscription. The Israeli Supreme Court had declared the law unconstitutional in February last.
Netanyahu had met Kadima lawmakers earlier on Tuesday but failed to retain them in the coalition despite offering certain concessions on the issue. But Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz rejected the offer and called a party meeting where all but three lawmakers voted to come out of the government.
"It is with deep regret that I say that there is no choice but to decide to leave the government. Netanyahu's proposal contradicts the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice, does not conform to the principle of equality, is disproportionate and does not meet the tests of effectiveness that are set down in the Supreme Court's ruling, or the principles of the committee on equalizing the burden of IDF service." Mofaz told reporters after the meeting.
Rejecting reports about early elections, Netanyahu said that "since the government was formed, people are always warning that there will be elections. There will be elections in the end because the law requires it. You have to be ready because elections could be initiated at any given moment. But wait patiently. They could be held in 2013."
by RTT Staff Writer
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