Shas chairman Arye Deri alluded to a possible deal between the haredi political parties and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman in which the ultra-Orthodox factions would support Likud-Beytenu candidate Moshe Lion for Jerusalem mayor.
The agreement would be in return for Liberman working to break up the coalition and get Shas back in the government.
Speaking on Kol Barama Radio on Tuesday morning, Deri pointed to the policies towards the haredi community of Yesh Atid and party leader Yair Lapid, saying that the current coalition had to be broken up.
“All the heads of the haredi parties promised him [Liberman] three months ago that they would support Moshe Lion,” Deri continued.
“If we back track on this, and if the haredi community doesn’t unite around the candidacy of Moshe Lion, I’m telling you, we’re going to lose the chance to dismantle this coalition in the next three years.”
Asked to explain further, Deri said the coalition could not be broken up without the Yisrael Beytenu chairman.
“Avigdor Lieberman is the central axis of this coalition.
You cannot break up this coalition without Avigdor Lieberman. You cannot come to Avigdor Lieberman and tell him, sir, I’m sorry we’re taking you out, politically speaking, that we’re not supporting your candidate, Moshe Lion in Jerusalem, and afterwards request from him that he breaks up his alliance with Yair Lapid and Bennett.
“It won’t work, full stop. You can’t behave like this,” Deri said.
Lion was hoping for full haredi support in Jerusalem but the hassidic Agudat Yisrael party has refused to endorse him, as has a rebel non-hassidic faction representing several thousand votes on the capital.
Shas and the mainstream non-hassidic haredi party Degel Hatorah have both pledged support for Lion.
Liberman’s associates noted that Deri did not claim to be speaking for the Yisrael Beytenu leader. They called Deri’s statements “wishful thinking” on the part of the Shas leader.
“It’s nonsense with no connection to reality,” a source close to Liberman said.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.