Shas co-leader Eli Yishai lashed out at Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on Tuesday, as tensions ran high over the formation of the
"My sense is that the prime
minister prefers Yesh Atid to us," Yishai told Army Radio. "[Yair] Lapid
himself simply doesn’t want to sit [in the coalition] with us, and
nothing will convince him otherwise."
whose Yesh Atid party won an unexpected 19 seats in last month's Knesset
elections, is sticking to his pre-election platform on all Israelis
contributing to national service. The ultra-Orthodox parties, including
Shas, are reticent about drafting Israeli haredi men out of the yeshivas
and into a uniform.
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In his first speech
before the Knesset on Monday, Lapid called for increased haredi
enlistment in the IDF or civil service, saying that Israel " cannot
avoid equality in the burden just because 10% of the population
threatens the other 90% with a civil war."
added that the threat of a rift in society as a result of implementing a
mandatory service law "empties the entire idea of democracy."
close to Netanyahu said the prime minister wants to see Yesh Atid in
his coalition together with ultra-Orthodox parties, as well as Bayit
Yehudi, Kadima and Tzipi Livni's party. The sources said Lapid and the
haredi parties would have to compromise to bring that about.
efforts to build a broad national unity government suffered multiple
setbacks on Monday when his potential coalition partners refused to
compromise on key issues.
One setback occurred when Netanyahu met
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett at the Prime Minister’s Office in
Tel Aviv. While both sides declined to reveal what was discussed at the
meeting, both said afterward that Bayit Yehudi would continue
coordinating coalition strategy with Yesh Atid
wanted to break the unwritten understanding between Bayit Yehudi and
Yesh Atid, in which neither party would join the coalition without the
But Likud officials said Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid were fully coordinating their negotiation strategy on every issue.