In a lengthy and angry statement on Saturday night, joint Shas leader Eli Yishai
said he and his party were reconciled to going into the opposition but accused
Bayit Yehudi leader Nafatli Bennett of stabbing the haredi community in the
Writing on Facebook, Yishai said that those who had been praying
for a government without any haredim were on the verge of success, but that Shas
“will go into the opposition with our heads held high.”
however, that his party would not take political revenge on Bayit Yehudi or the
settler movement, by acting against the settlements, and said that the haredim
would be ready and waiting to help when the settlers ask for it.
2013 elections will be remembered as the day on which an entire community,
traditional people and haredim, were boycotted simply because of their faith and
outlook on life,” the Shas leader said.
Warning that Yesh Atid leader
Yair Lapid would betray the Bayit Yehudi party and the settler movement and seek
to “injure the settlements and the settlers in Judea and Samaria,” Yishai said
that Shas would not turn its back on them.
“You, my brothers the
settlers,” wrote Yishai, mocking Bennett’s frequent use of the word brothers in
reference to the haredim, “will need to knock on our doors and ask for help,
[and] we will already be standing up and we will not wait for the call, we were
always there and always will be.
“Shas does not intend to turn the sword
that was stabbed into our back onto you, despite the behavior of this [person]
who pretends to represent you. We will prove to you that we will remain faithful
to our outlook and our belief that we are your true brothers,” Yishai
He added that Shas was not being left out of the coalition
because “of a lack of agreement,” but because there was simply a desire to “see
the haredim excluded [from government],” possibly alluding to compromises which
the party made during coalition negotiations on the issue of increasing haredi
enlistment in the army.
Shas was understood to be willing to accept the
main parameters of the Kandel Plan for recruiting more haredim into national
service programs, drafted by the chairman of the National Economic Council in
the Prime Minister’s Office and close aide the prime minister, Prof. Eugene
This plan was, however, generally rejected by Yesh Atid and
Yishai said that Shas would fight in opposition based on “the
right and obligation to represent those whose voices they tried to silence,” and
predicted that new elections would be called in less than two
“When we stand again in front of the electorate, I know that they
will prefer the way of understanding, dialogue and togetherness, instead of
boycott, distancing people and radicalism, and the electorate will not lend its
hand to the continuation of the path that has been taken in recent weeks to turn
us from a society with arguments into a divided society,” he wrote.