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Mofaz and Kadima walk out of coalition government

    A religious soldier prays at the Western Wall
    A religious soldier prays at the Western Wall

    The centrist Kadima party has left Israel's coalition government, only two months after forging the partnership.

    The Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz said on Tuesday afternoon that the party would be extracting itself from the Likud-led coalition in the wake of the failure to resolve the internal coalition split over the universal draft.

    The historic exemption of Charedi Jews from service in the IDF ends at the start of next month, and reform of the legislation has proved a controversial and divisive issue in Israel.

    Kadima has taken a view shared by secular voters, that the draft must be extended to include Charedim, whereas Likud has taken a softer approach.

    Passing new legislation aimed at replacing the 10-year-old Tal Law was said to be one of main reasons Kadima joined the coalition in May.

    Kadima's entry into the coalition was hailed as a way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to avoid facing elections this year. It is now expected that he will face a national vote at the start of 2013.

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