Ultra-Orthodox leaders condemn Gantz for saying he'll exclude them

‘Woe to the evil man and woe to his neighbors,’ UTJ Litzman and Gafni say of Blue and White leader Gantz.

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September 4, 2019 12:26
2 minute read.
Yaakov Litzman voting

Yaakov Litzman voting. (photo credit: SHLOMI COHEN)



Leaders of the ultra-Orthodox political parties have denounced Blue and White chairman MK Benny Gantz for saying he would exclude them from government if he gets the chance to form a coalition. 
Speaking on Tuesday night in Beersheva, Gantz said he would form a “liberal unity government," without "extremists or extortionists,” widely seen as a reference to the ultra-Orthodox and right wing religious-Zionist parties.


United Torah Judaism chairman and deputy health minister MK Yaakov Litzman and senior UTJ leader MK Moshe Gafni said that “the cat was out of the bag” and that Gantz’s efforts to hide his positions regarding the ultra-Orthodox parties had now been exposed. 


“After he has tried for a considerable period to conceal his opinions and even did everything to separate himself from his partner Yair Lapid, today it is clear that there is no difference between them,” said Gafni and Litzman in a joint statement to the press. 


“It has become clear that Benny Gantz is someone without values or a backbone. He has no problem dividing society in Israel for a few potential Knesset seats. He is not fitting for a position of responsibility, lacks any abilities in public service, and his partnership with Yair Lapid is described by the sages as “woe to the evil man and woe to his neighbor,” continued the two UTJ leaders.


They added that UTJ would be recommending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government. 


Until now, the ultra-Orthodox parties UTJ and Shas have refrained from attacking Gantz since he has refrained from publicly attacking them and expressed, in private, a willingness to compromise on matters of religion and state which are central to their party's platform and the hearts of their supporters. 


Even on Tuesday, Shas chairman and interior minister Aryeh Deri said that if Gantz and his fellow party leaders would separate from Yesh Atid and Lapid they could join a right-wing, religious government that might be formed. 


But Blue and White has, over the last few weeks, been battered by Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party for his reticence to underline his commitment to liberal, pluralistic values.


Whereas Blue and White obtained 35 Knessets seats in the April election, it is currently polling between 30 and 31 seats, while Yisrael Beytenu, which took just five seats in the April election, is polling between nine and ten seats. 


Yisrael Beytenu rejected Gantz’s comments saying that they were part of a coordinated plan between him and the ultra-Orthodox parties and that the Blue and White leader planned to bring UTJ and Shas into a coalition which Gantz would form if he was positioned to form a government after the election. 


“It is clear those that are most concerned by a strong Yisrael Beytenu are the ultra-Orthodox parties and Blue and White,” the party said in a statement to the press. 


“The only ones who can stop the establishment of a state of Jewish law and keep the ultra-Orthodox out [of the government] is only Yisrael Beytenu.”


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