Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) lashed out Wednesday night against the new committee formed by the Likud and Kadima factions to draft Ultra-Orthodox Jews into the IDF, saying the issue is intended to distract the public from the country’s real problems and ensure that there would not be socio-economic protests this summer.
Speaking at a “political cafe” of the Labor party’s Jerusalem branch at Kibutz Ramat Rahel, Yachimovich said drafting yeshiva students would not ease the country’s socio-economic gaps. She said she preferred to work together with the Ultra-Orthodox community to help them ease their poverty.
“I know it would be very popular with our voters for me to attack the Ultra-Orthodox, but I won’t do it,” she said.
“I think we need to be working with them and helping them enter the workforce. They want to work. The trend of more Ultra-Orthodox women working is very impressive. We have to live together under the same sky so we need to learn to cooperate with them.”
Yachimovich faced criticism from United Kibutz Movement project director Yoel Marshak, whose petition to the Supreme Court resulted in it ruling the “Tal Law” unconstitutional and the current efforts to draft a replacement law.
Marshak slammed Yachimovich for not cooperating with the committee that was formed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) to address the issue, headed by Kadima lawmaker Yohanan Plesner.
Marshak will testify before the committee on Thursday as a representative of the kibutzim.
“Finally the issue is being dealt with and our voice will not be heard?” Marshak complained to Yachimovich.
“Our party decided on a policy of ‘one nation, one draft,’ and we need to be presenting that view to the Plesner committee.”
Yachimovich responded fiercely by asserting that “the committee represents the government and the coalition. We won’t go there to grovel to Plesner and Mofaz. We do not respect what they are doing. As the opposition, we will present an alternative to what the committee decides.”
Responding to Netanyahu’s decision to not advance the next general election, Yacimovich said Labor was more ready for the election than any other party. She vowed to use her role as opposition leader to reach out to people who boycotted past elections because of their animosity for political corruption.
“We are getting more and more supporters who never voted before,” she said.
“That is one of our goals. We will explain to them that politics is not dirty. Politics is the way to fix things.”