Olmert turns to UTJ for support

Following refusal of 3 Labor MKs to OK budget, PM steps up talks with UTJ.

By
May 11, 2006 03:54
1 minute read.
mk yaacov litzman face 298

yaacov litzman face 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Following the decision of three Labor MKs not to vote for the budget in its first reading on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stepped up coalition talks with United Torah Judaism. Olmert met with the party's representatives, shortly after the vote to try and bridge the differences still blocking a coalition agreement with the party. The meeting with MKs Ya'acov Litzman and Moshe Gafni, who as members of the opposition voted against the budget, didn't end with a result and Litzman afterwards told reporters that there is only a 50-50 chance of UTJ joining the coalition. For Litzman this will also have personal repercussions, since the Knesset Finance Committee that he chairs will begin discussing the budget on Tuesday. Litzman has already announced that if UTJ does not join the government by then, he will not pass the budget through the committee and most likely step down. The main sticking point is the UTJ demand that the government enlarge child benefits that were drastically cut during the former government. UTJ is not prepared to make do with the concessions already given to Shas that merely cancelled future cuts. The real deadline for negotiations is Sunday, since the two senior rabbis of UTJ, the Gerrer Rebbe Yaacov Alter and Rabbi Aryeh Leib Steinman, will be leaving on a 10-day fundraising tour of the United States and it's doubtful that an agreement will be authorized in their absence. Another result of the weakening of the coalition at such an early stage could be the strengthening of Shas, the only party whose members haven't yet made any problems for Olmert. Shas chairman Eli Yishai, who is Trade, Industry and Employment minister, said after the vote that "we're the only ones that Olmert can rely on. When we vote on an issue, we all vote together." Yishai hopes that as a result of his party's loyalty, the two Shas ministers-without-portfolio will be given wider responsibilities. The party's main priority is that Minister Meshulam Nahari will be appointed minister in the Education Ministry in charge of haredi schools. Despite this being the express wish of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, Labor which received the ministry, has opposed this. Following Labor Chairman Amir Peretz's inability to impose discipline on his party, Shas hopes it still has a chance.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN