Kadima votes to leave coalition after Tal Law talks fail
Members of the Kadima faction voted to quit the coalition on Tuesday.
Twenty-four MKs voted in favor of the proposal and three voted against it after party chairman Shaul Mofaz announced his intention to leave the government.
Speaking at a faction meeting in Petah Tikva Mofaz said, "It is with deep regret that I say that there is no choice but to decide to leave the government." Following the vote, Mofaz sent his resignation letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"It wasn't easy to enter it," Mofaz said earlier. "I paid a personal political price but this issue is fundamental, and there is no choice but to leave the coalition. Every concession will harm Kadima's image."
The Kadima faction convened for a dramatic meeting hours after announcing that negotiations with the Likud over an alternative to the Tal Law had failed. "Negotiations between Kadima and the Likud over the equal distribution of the burden have failed," the statement read.
Addressing the crisis with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud, Mofaz said: "I insisted that the (Plesner) committee complete its task.
"The break down occurred with the dissolution of the committee by the prime minister. I told the prime minister that if he fails to accept the Plesner principles, I was out and then the Likud faction accepted my position."
Mofaz stressed that he was unwilling to compromise on the conscription matter or the enlistment age. He said that Kadima was willing to allow yeshiva students to study until the age of 22 before enlisting. "The prime minister was not willing to go below 26 and I did not accept the offer."
Coalition sources said that withdrawal from the coalition will threaten the government's stability and may prompt early elections. Political sources added that in such a case, elections will be held in early 2013.
Earlier, Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid called for the Knesset's dissolution and the declaration of early elections.
A close associate of Mofaz' added that the Likud's compromise offer "is nothing less than an attempt to deceive the public."
It is still unclear, however, how many of Kadima's Knesset members are in favor of the party exiting the Coalition and how many are against it.
This may pose an internal political problem for Mofaz, whose decision to join Netanyahu in the first place earned ruthless criticism.
Likud sources accused Mofaz of being obstinate, while the Kadima chairman's associates said he simply refuses to cave into the Likud's pressure to manufacture a bill that does not support full equality.