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Israeli vice premier pessimistic over draft change
Israeli vice premier pessimistic about solution to drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into military
By The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) Israel's vice premier is pessimistic about finding a formula to obligate ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military before a court-determined Aug. 1 deadline.

Moshe Yaalon said failure could endanger Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government.

The current law largely exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service. That infuriates many Israelis, since almost all are required to serve. Israel's Supreme Court ruled the law must be revised.

Yaalon, a former military chief, is from Netanyahu's Likud Party.

Netanyahu's largest coalition partner, Kadima, is threatening to quit the government if an agreement on universal conscription is not reached by next week.

Kadima and Likud parties disagree over whether the ultra-Orthodox should face sanctions if they refuse to serve.

Yaalon said Thursday that such punishments would amount to "declaring war" on ultra-Orthodox youngsters.

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