Deri says Shas backing Netanyahu for PM, blames Liberman for elections

“We are supporting Netanyahu, we are at Netanyahu’s side,” said Deri.

July 22, 2019 19:32
2 minute read.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Shas party leader Arye Deri

PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Shas party leader Arye Deri. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri promised to back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government, and blamed Yisrael Beytenu for thwarting the establishment of a right wing government after the April 9 elections. 
Speaking at an event to launch Shas’s election campaign, the interior minister promised to launch a war on poverty and to continue its policies of supporting those in the lower socio-economic sectors of society.
“We are supporting Netanyahu, we are at Netanyahu’s side,” said Deri.
“Netanyahu knows and the public knows that there is no more trustworthy partner than Shas. Whoever votes Shas will get Bibi, and a party and MKs who work for the weaker sectors of society.”
Deri accused Yisrael Beytenu of responsibility for the failure to establish a new government after the April elections, saying that “someone who promised to back Netanyahu reneged on their word, because he didn’t want Netanyahu to be prime minister,” in reference to Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman. 
“Liberman was a partner for 30 years with the haredim, and never ever harmed the haredi community,” continued Deri.
The haredi political leadership has declined to engage with Liberman’s recent anti-haredi campaign, and have instead tried to neutralize his offensive by pointing out that he has sat in numerous governments with the haredi political parties.
“His words are just words,” quipped Deri, riffing off of a well known slogan of Liberman’s.
The Shas chairman also promised that his party would maintain its conservative position on religion and state issues, promising that it would not allow any easing of the status quo on religious affairs such as public transport on Shabbat, and the control of the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate over Jewish religious life.
“There has been a continuous injury to the status quo against the religious character of the state, principally through decisions of the High Court of Justice and not through legislation, of the Knesset” said Deri.
“We are talking about the minimum of the minimum. No one is checking who goes to synagogue, who’s eating what. But we want to protect the future of the Jewish people, and protect the Jewish characteristic of the State of Israel which is being eroded, and we will continue to fight against this.”
During his address to the media, Deri made a raft of promises on economic issues. saying that Shas was now the only party on the right to advocate on social-welfare issues. 
The Shas leader said that his party would work towards increasing the minimum wage by NIS 1,000 to NIS 6,300 over the course of the next Knesset, and promised “free education from age zero.”
In addition, he said Shas would advance “blanket exemptions for municipal tax” for poor neighborhoods, discounts on electricity and water bills, and the expansion of free dental care for children, adults and the elderly.
At the same time, Deri said he believed the country’s expanding budget deficit could be reduced regardless of his social-welfare plans and without raising taxes.

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