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November 02, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Defense minister says stalemate in negotiations with Palestinian Authority coming to an end, addresses religious-secular tensions.
The peace talks with the Palestinian Authority will move forward after the midterm elections in the US, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday.
“There are elections in the US today, and I suppose that it will take them a few weeks after the elections to settle in,” he said during a visit to a high school in Emek Hamaayanot Regional Council in northern Israel. “I hope and believe that we can see real progress in the negotiations in the next few months.”
Barak also addressed the escalating tension within Israel between ultra-Orthodox and secular citizens. He told the high school students about a visit he paid to the IDF’s Menashe Regional Brigade, where a haredi combat unit serves.
“In the past, 10 years ago, an entire unit of haredi soldiers would have been considered impossible,” he said.
“The haredim, whose incorporation in the job market – especially the haredi men, similarly to the incorporation of women of the Arab sector into the job market – requires attention from the State, as well as the creation of a foundation and a training system. But we must also recognize equality and the need for inclusion,” he said.
In response to the yeshiva funding bill, which has provoked demonstrations and arguments in recent days, Barak said that Israel must level the playing field between religious and secular students.
“The State, which has been giving different forms of support to yeshiva students, must find the way to give secular students and young people the same things, in an equal manner,” he said.