“What is the utility of general elections now?” asked Netanyahu. “General election means the end of the war.”

Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference on February 29, 2024
(photo credit: NIMROD KLIKMAN/POOL)

General elections would mean the end of the Hamas-Israel War, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a Thursday evening speech, necessitating a compromise on the haredi draft law issue.

Netanyahu said that he believed he could pass a draft law arrangement that would not tear the nation apart and would be supported by a majority in the Knesset. Such an arrangement could not be done with democratic compromise — complete agreement, he said, only exists in non-democratic countries.

“Those that demand complete agreement will not achieve any agreement,” said Netanyahu.

There were actors, Netanyahu cautioned, that might seek elections or might cause one by making extreme demands for draft arrangements, but going to the ballot box would lead to an end of the October 7 war.

“What is the utility of general elections now?” asked Netanyahu. “General election means the end of the war.”

HAREDI MEN join up with the IDF at the Tel Hashomer recruiting offices, Oct. 23. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Netanyahu: Elections would cripple government operations

General elections would cripple government operations, said Netanyahu. The government would be paralyzed when making decisions on Rafah, Hezbollah, or hostages.

Netanyahu said that general elections were the dream of Iran, Hamas leader Yayha Sinwar, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Opening the polling stations could also cause emotional and political divisions in the ranks, distracting the soldiers who would otherwise be operating in cooperation in armored personnel carriers (APC) in Gaza.

“This would be deadly gunfire inside our national APC,” said Netanyahu. “It’s forbidden that it happens to us during war and when we’re so close to victory.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid responded on Thursday night by saying that Netanyahu’s speech sought to conceal the reality of Israel’s situation.

“Another hysterical show of a failed and guilty prime minister,” said Lapid. ‘Israel will only win if this failed government takes responsibility and resigns.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman asked Netanyahu on social media “When there is no unity in the war cabinet, how will you lead to unity in the nation?”

Strength through unity was a major theme of Netanyahu’s speech, explaining that it was why the draft law compromise was so necessary.

Netanyahu said that it was impossible to ignore the public feeling that the responsibilities of security were not evenly distributed in society, and it was something that the haredi community understood as well.

“It’s correct to change the situation; therefore, we will set objectives for the enlistment of haredim to IDF and civil service,” said Netanyahu, continuing to explain that they would develop the tools for this path.

Netanyahu said that the draft was needed, though he was “deeply thankful for the Torah study of our haredi brothers” and “also thankful for the enlistment to civil emergency and rescue organizations that are doing holy work.”

Lapid wrote on X that “63,000 Haredi youth are of military service age today. Twelve more infantry brigades for the IDF.

Liberman called for an end to all exemptions and deals on mandatory military service.

“Every young man and woman who reaches the age of 18, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians, will enlist in the army or the civil service,” said Liberman.

Tension on the issue of the haredi draft has steadily risen since Monday’s High Court of Justice hearing on petitions on the cabinet’s haredi draft policies and the issuance of a series of conditional orders demanding the government defend them from nullification. A haredi draft law expired on June 1, but on June 25, the cabinet instructed the Defense Ministry not to draft yeshiva students until it had passed a new law at the end of March.

In a Wednesday ultimatum, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the ministry would not advance a haredi draft law proposal unless accepted by all members of the coalition.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post