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Kadima bolts Israeli government, blow to Netanyahu

world Updated: Jul 17, 2012 23:47 IST

AP
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The leader of Israel's Kadima party says he has formally pulled out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government.

Shaul Mofaz said he made the decision to protest the government's failure to reform Israel's military draft.

"We are going back with our heads held high to lead the nation in the opposition," he said on Tuesday.

Mofaz led Kadima into the coalition in May to work on writing a new law to end a system of automatic draft exemptions for tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students.

But the sides say they will not be able to find a compromise ahead of a court-ordered Aug 1 deadline.

With Kadima, Netanyahu had one of Israel's largest-ever coalitions.

His decision leaves Netanyahu with a fragile majority, moving the country toward early elections.