Netanyahu offered major concessions to haredim in coalition negotiations

Likud agreed to wide-ranging concessions to the haredi parties following the April 9 election, including tough restrictions on construction work on Shabbat and gutting haredi enlistment legislation.

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July 16, 2019 07:15
2 minute read.
Netanyahu offered major concessions to haredim in coalition negotiations

Benjamin Netanyahu and MK Moshe Gafni. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party agreed to wide-ranging concessions to the haredi parties during coalition negotiations following the April 9 election, including tough restrictions on construction work on Shabbat, gutting haredi enlistment legislation, and preventing “injury” to religious lifestyle in neighborhoods with a religious majority.

According to a report by KAN, Netanyahu and the Likud agreed to a demand that the labor and welfare minister would need to consult with the an official in the Chief Rabbinate before approving construction work on Shabbat, with the agreement specifically stating that the minister would have to conduct “a hearing and coordinate” with the rabbinate representative.

The agreement also included a clause that stated that any large construction project that might require work on Shabbat should include in the planning stage alternative options to working on the Sabbath, again in coordination with the Chief Rabbinate.

Another clause stated that anything that might “injure” a religious or haredi way of life should be prevented in neighborhoods where these sectors constitute a majority.

A further, critical clause required that new legislation on haredi enlistment, which must be passed in the next Knesset, give the government control over enlistment targets, something that would empty the law of all meaning since the haredi political parties could simply demand low rates of enlistment with no or little requirement to boost enlistment numbers.

It was also agreed that a clause in the legislation on haredi enlistment prepared by the Defense Ministry during the last Knesset – in which the law would automatically expire if targets were not met for three years in a row – would be removed from the legislation.

In a big concession to the right-wing religious parties, Netanyahu and Likud agreed to a stipulation that the government would “advance the regularization” of unauthorized settlements and outposts in the West Bank, and would establish by legislation a government authority for the purpose.

KAN reported that Netanyahu and the Likud had agreed to all of these demands and were poised to sign the agreements on May 29, when the prime minister believed he could still form a new government.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman’s refusal to change anything in the legislation prepared by the Defense Ministry ultimately thwarted Netanyahu’s attempt to create a new coalition, and the Knesset was dispersed on May 30.
“You chose Bibi [Netanyahu], you get a state of Jewish law,” MK Yair Lapid (Blue and White) responded on Twitter.

In a response Likud said that for the past 13 years “Prime Minister Netanyahu is keeping and has kept the status que in matters of religion and the state.”

The press release went on to state that the final authority in matters of work carried out on Saturday rests in the hand of the Labor Minister, Haim Katz is now serving in that office.



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