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Heaven Can’t Wait: Are Israel’s Haredi Parties About to Bring Netanyahu Down?

Shalom Lipner
Atlantic Council, Mar. 14, 2024

“Consenting to a wholesale Haredi exemption at the exact moment when hundreds of thousands of IDF regulars and reservists are being asked to assume additional burdens would be untenable.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “viability as leader” and “governing coalition” may both “be in jeopardy,” according to the 2024 Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. The document, which was released on March 11 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), anticipates “large protests demanding his resignation and new elections” that could give rise to the formation of “a different, more moderate government.”
The ODNI’s predicted outcome could transpire more quickly than imagined—notwithstanding the rejoinder of an irate and anonymous “very senior” Israeli official, who issued a statement reading, “we expect our friends to act to overthrow the terror regime of Hamas and not the elected government in Israel”—but from another direction. The spark would be provided by the crisis surrounding an idiosyncratic feature of Israeli life: the blanket exemption from military service granted to ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews who are enrolled in a Talmudic academy (yeshiva).
Despite enjoying broad domestic support for its war in the Gaza Strip—roughly two-thirds of all Israelis favor the expansion of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operations into Rafah—Netanyahu’s cohort remains decidedly unpopular among the electorate. (That dichotomy also appears to have infused the evolving approach of the Joe Biden administration, which is reportedly maneuvering to “break” with Netanyahu while “sticking” with Israel against Hamas.)

… [To read the full article, click here]

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