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Liberman accused of double standards on drafting ultra-Orthodox

A report on ultra-Orthodox exemptions from military service while top politician Avigdor Liberman served as defense minister has raised serious questions about his campaign to increase their enlistment.
Avigdor Lieberman, head of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party delivers a statement at the Knesset, Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RC2ZED973P3J
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Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party have been key players over the past year in Israel’s chaotic political arena, holding the swing votes that will determine which of the two major political blocs forms Israel’s next government. Liberman’s November 2018 resignation as defense minister led to early elections in April 2019, after which he surprised everyone by refusing to join the government of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to form. His refusal, he explained, stemmed from his agenda that espouses separation of religion from the affairs of state and his persistent demand that ultra-Orthodox men perform mandatory military service like all other young Israelis.

Liberman stuck to his guns after the September 2019 elections as well, and escalated his campaign against the ultra-Orthodox over their rejection of his core demands. “Unfortunately, the ultra-Orthodox parties are also increasingly anti-Zionist,” he claimed in a fiery November 2019 speech.

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