'Haredim rethinking partnership with Right'

Haredi party may prefer to join coalition with left-wing government that receives more media, elites' support, source close to UTJ MK Gafni says.

December 27, 2011 01:27
1 minute read.
MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ)

MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The haredi parties may prefer to join a coalition with Kadima rather than Likud in the next election in an effort to prevent anti-haredi incitement, Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday.

Gafni told Netanyahu he was angry that Likud and the other right-wing parties in the coalition were not taking action to quell the anti-haredi atmosphere following a spate of incidents involving haredi extremists.

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“We are having more and more thoughts about rethinking our cooperation with the Right, because when there are attacks on the haredim, the Right joins the wave instead of checking the facts and defending us,” a source close to Gafni said. “When we were part of a Kadima-led government, they defended us better and enabled us to pass laws we can’t pass now.”

Gafni protested recent public statements by Netanyahu he interpreted as anti-haredi. He suggested the haredim were getting bad press because they are part of the coalition of Netanyahu, who has been targeted by left-leaning newspapers.

His associates said that in recent years, leading haredi rabbis have always advised UTJ to join a government led by the Right because rightists tend to be closer to their religion than leftists. But they said that following the next election, Gafni may instead recommend joining a left-wing government that would have the support of the elites and the media.

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said he agreed the haredi parties received more from left-wing governments, because they don’t get attacked as much by the press as coalitions led by the Right. But he expressed hope the haredim would retain their bond with the Right.

“We can’t dictate to haredim what coalition to join, but the views of the haredim tend to be right-wing and when the anti-haredi Tzipi Livni heads Kadima, they don’t really have a choice,” Elkin said.

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