Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai denied reports in the haredi media on Monday that Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu discussed key future diplomatic developments with
the Palestinians in his meeting late Sunday with the party’s mentor, Rabbi
RELATED:Shas mentor Yosef pushed ministers to back swap
Haredi media reported that Netanyahu asked Yosef to enable
Shas to support concessions to the Palestinians as a gesture to US President
Barack Obama for his help in preventing the declaration of a Palestinian state
at the United Nations.
The reports said the issue of Israeli agent
Jonathan Pollard was raised in the context of helping sell concessions to the
Palestinians to the Israeli Right. Pollard has always opposed being used as a
bargaining chip potentially enabling concessions that could harm Israeli
“There was nothing dramatic there,” Yishai said of the
closed-door meeting he attended with Netanyahu, Yosef and Construction and
Housing Minister Ariel Attias.
Yishai said issues raised included the
prisonerexchange deal with Egypt for Ilan Grapel, the return of Israeli soldier
Gilad Schalit and the recent Jewish holidays.
Netanyahu normally visits
Yosef during Succot, but the meeting was delayed because the prime minister was
busy finalizing the Schalit swap.
Yosef asked Netanyahu about Pollard,
according to Yishai, and the prime minister said efforts were being made to
persuade Obama to commute his sentence to the nearly 26 years he has
Yishai expressed pessimism about Pollard returning soon, saying
the best-case scenario was that Obama would agree to commute his sentence ahead
of the November 2012 US election.
Shas is expected to cause Netanyahu
headaches in upcoming months because the party opposes the Trajtenberg Committee
recommendations that the prime minister wants to pass in the Knesset’s winter
session, which starts next Monday.
Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman
gave Netanyahu a vote of confidence at a press conference on Monday, reiterating
his oft-repeated prediction that Netanyahu would accomplish the rare feat of
completing a term as prime minister.
If the next election is not moved
up, it will take place on October 22, 2013.