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Israel poll trend: Charedi draft battle is helping Kadima, hurting Likud

by Shmuel Rosner

July 17, 2012 | 9:21 am

Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz announcing their coalition deal in Jerusalem, May 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Israel’s political game of maneuvering is now all about the draft. Charedi draft ‎mostly, but also Arab-Israelis’ draft. It is far from clear at this point in time ‎how the battle over the draft will end. But the first casualty of this war is ‎Netanyahu’s 94-member coalition. Today, Kadima decided to leave the ‎coalition. Shaul Mofaz and Benjamin Netanyahu and their emissaries just ‎couldn’t reach a compromise on the draft. Mofaz insists that Charedis be ‎drafted at the age of 18 – like most other Israelis. Netanyahu wants to give ‎them five additional years of yeshiva studies and draft them at the late age of ‎‎23 – when most of them already have families, and drafting them would be far ‎more expensive. ‎

Up until today, Kadima was torn between two camps - one pushing new party ‎leader Mofaz to leave the coalition, while the other believing such a move was ‎political suicide. It might still be political suicide, but in recent days Mofaz ‎has realized that he’d rather die on his feet, and not stay in a partnership without ‎even the pretense of influence. ‎

The one bright spot for Mofaz this week is the polls. They give Kadima more ‎votes today than they did a couple of weeks ago. In other words, the battle ‎over the draft is good for the party. However, this little improvement still ‎doesn’t give Kadima much by way of regaining its power. If elections are held ‎in a couple of months (January is the timing the politicians are now talking ‎about), it is not at all clear how Kadima will come out, and whether Mofaz will ‎still be a viable contender for the Prime Minister’s job. Right now, the party ‎and its leader can’t seriously make such a claim. ‎

Our updated poll-trend feature (leading pollster Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv ‎University is, as usual, the man in charge of statistics and graphs) tracks the ‎winners and the losers of the draft battle. Kadima is gaining, the Likud Party is ‎losing, and Yesh Atid and Shas are also gaining. ‎

To see what the polls are telling us about Israel’s current political climate - and ‎why certain political parties and blocs are up or down - click here.‎

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