Yair Lapid, February 2, 2015.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Senior haredi MK Ya’acov Litzman effectively ruled out any possibility that United Torah Judaism will join a coalition with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, citing the “anti-haredi agenda” of the former finance minister’s faction.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post in a preelection interview to be published in full on Friday, Litzman, who occupies the first spot on the UTJ candidates list, claimed that Lapid had sought to damage the haredi sector in almost all his political endeavors and said that it would do him good to sit in the opposition for a while.
The haredi parties are quietly confident that they will be part of the next coalition, in large part due to the exasperation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Yesh Atid and other factions for what he claimed was their attempt to topple his government.
“I am fiercely opposed to sitting with Yesh Atid in the next government,” Litzman told the Post.
“A person who shed our blood, harmed us with poverty, prevented families from having chicken on Shabbat, harmed us on everything – and that’s without even mentioning [issues of] Judaism, conversion, conscription – on so many things, why should we sit with him? Are we friends?” The outgoing government significantly reduced various benefits enjoyed by the haredi sector, largely at the urging of Yesh Atid, such as the state stipends and income support payments for yeshiva students, child allotments which disproportionately benefited haredi families and other such benefits.
In addition, a law for mandatory haredi conscription was passed, a law for reforming the conversion process was approved and the abolition of marriage registration districts, fiercely opposed by the haredi parties, was enacted.
Several other measures that UTJ and Shas vehemently opposed passed their preliminary or first hearings in the Knesset, such as the bill for one chief rabbi and others which again were bitterly opposed by the two haredi parties.
Lapid, however, has said on at least two occasions since the Knesset was dispersed that he would be willing to sit in a government with the haredi parties, as long as the law for haredi conscription is not reversed.
Said Litzman, “Lapid says suddenly that he is willing to sit with everybody, including the haredim. He should sit for a [Knesset] term in the opposition, and we’ll see if he doesn’t attack us, if he doesn’t slander us, if he doesn’t conduct an anti-haredi agenda, and then we’ll see if he can come back.”
Litzman’s comments come just one day after Shas chairman Arye Deri also said it would be impossible to participate in a government with Yesh Atid.