Labor Chief Calls on Netanyahu to Move Up Elections

Shelly Yacimovich criticized the Kadima-Likud unity coalition, referring to it as a 'repulsive political circus'; Yisrael Beiteinu to stay in cabinet

Opposition chairperson MK Shelley Yacimovich (Labor) called Wednesday morning for moving up elections, in the wake of Kadima's withdrawal from the unity government. 

"I am calling on you, Bibi, let's go to elections – we even have a reasonable date," she said, November 27.

In a press conference held at the Knesset, Yacimovich referred to the failed talks on formulating a legislation alternative to the Tal Law, regarding drafting of ultra-Orthodox men to the IDF.

"If I were prime minister now, more Haredim would be enlisting than ever before, without hatred and without contention and with dialogue. Benjamin Netanyahu was never anointed as a king. The King Bibi myth, which has been fanned and intensified by a public relations system at which there is no doubt the Prime Minister excels. Netanyahu is a strong politician, but he is only a politician."

Yacimovich opened her statement by saying that "we are at the conclusion of an especially repulsive political circus that to my dismay has been going on for over two months. Circuses have an entertaining element to them, but there was no amusing element to this circus. Only contempt and disgrace for the entire political system. We have witnessed the petty politics of propaganda, of survival, of the political maneuvers, of political alliances born in sin and ended in sin."

Yacimovich argued that this episode has caused the Israeli public to lose faith in the political system. "What does the public at home think when it looks at this heap of unprecedented political maneuvers? The loss of confidence, the erosion and lack of public will to take part in the political system, endangers it. Netanyahu has a vision. That vision is Benjamin Netanyahu. That is what his actions amount to."

Another call for early elections came from the direction of Yair Lapid, the chairman of Yesh Atid party. "That's it. Kadima has withdrawn. Now the Knesset should be dissolved and early elections should be declared," Lapid wrote on his Facebook page.

"Netanyahu could have chosen a proper solution for equal [IDF] service for all, but after the usual zigzags and roundabouts he ultimately caved in, as always, to the Haredi politicians. We At Yesh Atid are prepared for elections. The time has come to remove this awful government from power."

This morning, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made it clear that he does not intend to resign the cabinet even if the legislative bill, calling for a universal draft law for every 18-year-old, will not be approved later Wednesday.

In an interview with Army Radio, the foreign minister said: "Really, we are not on our way out from the coalition. Anyone who speaks of withdrawing is clearly interested in bringing down the government. Anyone who truly cares about drafting must support Yisrael Beiteinu's proposal. Even if it does not pass, the issue is one of priorities. Even if no law is passed in August, we must prevent the approving of a terrible law. In any event, we will vote in the cabinet and in the Knesset against the Ya'alon plan. It would allow the possibility of continuing what existed in the past."

Lieberman also referred to calls from the "suckers' tent" protestors, who are demanding for an equal distribute of the national burden, after they called on him to resign from the government.

"Some of them are Yacimovich's people who don't want to draft the Haredim and the Arabs, but only want to bring the government down," Lieberman said.

On Tuesday, the unity coalition of Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz reached its conclusion, some 70 days after it was formed. Mofaz announced his faction's withdrawal from the coalition due to disagreement between Kadima and Likud on the universal IDF draft law.

"Netanyahu positioned himself at the side of the draft dodgers and not at the side of those who are bearing the burden," Mofaz said after the faction meeting. "I have come to understand that the prime minister left us no choice... any additional proposal would only be worse. Another couple of days or a week will not change its essence," Kadima's leader added.

Netanyahu responded to Mofaz' decision in a letter. "I am saddened by your choosing to waive an opportunity to make an historic change. After 64 years, we were very close to making a fundamental change in how the burden is distributed," wrote Netanyahu. "I will continue to work toward a responsible solution that Israeli society is looking forward to."