Sputnik: How much influence do Ultra-Orthodox Jews have on Israeli politics and is it likely that the bill exempting ultra-Orthodox Jewish students from serving in the army will be removed?
David Tal: They don’t really have a stand in political issues, they care about their own people and not national politics, and this allows them to join pretty much any political party in Israel.
I don't think they will get complete exemption from the military, but they did not ask for this, they asked for those who are still learning in the Yeshiva to be exempt.
Sputnik: Does Netanyahu have a chance of being re-elected next year and what is his personal stance towards ultra-orthodox?
David Tal: I think it is too early to predict whether Netanyahu will win next year’s election, he remains very popular within his own support base, but that base is no more than about 25% of the Israeli people. Whether they stick with him during the ongoing corruption allegations remains to be seen, so as I stated, it is too difficult to predict at this stage.
Sputnik: Who could potentially succeed Netanyahu and would Israel’s foreign policy and policy towards Palestine change assuming Netanyahu leaves office?
David Tal: Right now there is no one who is really standing out to replace him from the Likud Party. The future of Palestine is not just about Israeli policy;
it’s about Palestinian politics as they remain highly divided amongst themselves, so it is very difficult to speak about one Palestinian position and to suggest how negotiations will progress following Netanyahu.
The views and opinions expressed by David Tal are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.