Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov Litzman Flash 90

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) reiterated over the weekend that if the draft law does not pass in three readings by the end of the Knesset summer session, he will work to dismantle the government.

Litzman’s comments were made in a speech at a conference in Davos, Switzerland, attended by hundreds of Gur hasidim.

"If two months pass and the draft law is not approved, we will convene the Council of Torah Sages and leave the coalition," he said.

In March, the draft law was approved in its first reading in the wake of a 2017 ruling by the Supreme Court, which struck down open-ended draft deferments for full-time yeshiva students.

Haredi lawmakers had demanded the government pass the bill and threatened to block passage of the 2019 budget until their demands were met.

With a statutory deadline of March 31 approaching for the budget plan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu negotiated a compromise agreement with Litzman, under which the draft bill would be adopted by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation and passed in its first reading in the Knesset, followed by passage of the 2019 state budget.

The draft bill is supposed to be brought up for its second and third readings in the Knesset plenum during the Knesset’s summer session.

Yisrael Beytenu, which is opposed to the legislation, vowed to vote against the bill and threatened to bolt the coalition if it was passed into law.

Litzman’s comments on Sunday are in line with similar views he expressed in an interview last month with a haredi journal.

"My position is that without the enactment of the law to regulate the status of yeshiva students until the end of the summer session, we will go to elections," Litzman said at the time.

He explained that he is aware of the long legislative processes, but said he hopes that the various positions on the issue will converge at the end of the day towards a single agreed upon decision.

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