by Hezki Baruch
The 21st Knesset has been dissolved, less than a month after it was sworn in. The Knesset approved the Knesset Dispersion Law on Wednesday evening by a majority of 74 to 45.
Law to dissolve the Knesset approved in second and third readings. Elections expected to take place on September 17.
The elections for the 22nd Knesset will take place on September 17, just six months after the last elections.
Earlier, the haredi parties Degel Hatorah and Shas announced that their spiritual leaders approved the compromise, which states that the Draft Law will be passed in its first reading and that amendments will be made before it is approved in second and third readings. However, the Yisrael Beytenu rejected this compromise proposal as well.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to the approval of the law to dissolve the 21st Knesset, a month after it was sworn in.
"The Israeli public made a clear and unequivocal decision: That I would be prime minister and that the Likud would lead a right-wing government. The public chose me to lead the State of Israel. The various parties that ran for Knesset, many of them said they would support me. 60 out of the 65 mandates granted to the right did what they undertook upon themselves to do. One party did the exact opposite. Avigdor Liberman misled his voters. From the get go, he had no intention of joining the government," said Netanyahu.
"In eight months Avigdor Liberman is dragging the country twice to elections because of personal whims and an attempt to get a few more seats. Simply unbelievable. Avigdor Liberman is now part of the left, he is the heart of the left,” Netanyahu continued, blasting the Yisrael Beytenu chairman.
United Torah Judaism chairman, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, said after the Knesset was dissolved, “The holding of new elections a month after the last elections is contrary to the will of the people and contrary to all common sense. This is political coercion for no real reason, with an awful waste of billions that can go to important things like adding resources to the health care system, education or any other purpose for the good of the public."
"The cynical use of the Draft Law is an outrageous excuse meant to confuse the public with the goal of inciting against the haredi public and making political capital on it. Torah study has always been and will always remain an important value for the people of Israel. Preserving the status of yeshiva students was the basis for our joining every government and every coalition. It is clear to everyone that we will not be able to agree to any law that restricts Torah scholars in Israel," added Litzman.
"All along, we announced that we would not be able to agree to set enlistment targets and quotas for yeshiva students in the Draft Law. We surprised no one and acted honestly and transparently. Those who try to impose on UTJ enlistment goals and quotas in the law, contrary to our belief, contrary to the instructions we received from the Council of Torah Sages - is acting against a right-wing government and is motivated by political motives to topple the prime minister for other reasons. Together with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud negotiating team, we left no stone unturned in an attempt to prevent new elections. Unfortunately, Avigdor Liberman rejected every compromise and any attempt at dialogue and agreement. Instead, he embarked on a campaign of vicious and defamatory incitement, against the haredi public and its leaders, while blaming us for things that never happened."
"History will judge the leadership of the State of Israel for an unnecessary and delusional election campaign, while attempting to incite between populations and sectors against the wishes of the majority of the people," Litzman concluded.
Earlier on Wednesday, Liberman addressed the crisis in the coalition talks.
"There is nothing hidden behind the draft law. There is no problem other than the law. As I have already said - all the inventors of other theories - try us," Liberman said.
"Regarding the trick of removing the heart of the law from primary legislation and changing it into a government decision - this is not cosmetics. It is emptying the law of its content. I think that every reasonable person would accept my proposal, and I think that the haredi MKs, and I know them well, are reasonable people," he said. “So I hope they will accept my proposal."
"The haredim are still trying to transfer the recruitment targets and the expiration of the draft law from the original law [whereby these factors were determined in the legislation] to the government's decision," said the Yisrael Beytenu chairman. "Under no circumstances will we let this happen."
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