Shas' Yishai: PM prefers Yesh Atid to us

Outgoing deputy PM and interior minister says Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid "simply doesn't want to" sit in coalition with Shas.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Interior Minister Eli Yishai 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Shas co-leader Eli Yishai lashed out at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, as tensions ran high over the formation of the next government. 
"My sense is that the prime minister prefers Yesh Atid to us," Yishai told Army Radio. "[Yair] Lapid himself simply doesn’t want to sit [in the coalition] with us, and nothing will convince him otherwise."
Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party won an unexpected 19 seats in last month's Knesset elections, is sticking to his pre-election platform on all Israelis contributing to national service. The ultra-Orthodox parties, including Shas, are reticent about drafting Israeli haredi men out of the yeshivas and into a uniform.
In his first speech before the Knesset on Monday, Lapid called for increased haredi enlistment in the IDF or civil service, saying that Israel " cannot avoid equality in the burden just because 10% of the population threatens the other 90% with a civil war."
Lapid added that the threat of a rift in society as a result of implementing a mandatory service law "empties the entire idea of democracy."
Sources close to Netanyahu said the prime minister wants to see Yesh Atid in his coalition together with ultra-Orthodox parties, as well as Bayit Yehudi, Kadima and Tzipi Livni's party. The sources said Lapid and the haredi parties would have to compromise to bring that about.
Netanyahu’s efforts to build a broad national unity government suffered multiple setbacks on Monday when his potential coalition partners refused to compromise on key issues.
One setback occurred when Netanyahu met Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tel Aviv. While both sides declined to reveal what was discussed at the meeting, both said afterward that Bayit Yehudi would continue coordinating coalition strategy with Yesh Atid
Netanyahu had wanted to break the unwritten understanding between Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid, in which neither party would join the coalition without the other.
But Likud officials said Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid were fully coordinating their negotiation strategy on every issue.