UTJ: Bennett declaring war on world of Torah

Bayit Yehudi says pact with Lapid stronger than ever; Likud claims Bayit Yehudi refusing to sit in coalition with haredi parties.

Lapid and Bennett at Knesset swear in 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Lapid and Bennett at Knesset swear in 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni on Friday accused Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett of "declaring war on the world of Torah."
Gafni's comments came after coalition talks between Likud Beytenu and Bayit Yehudi on Friday ended with no progress, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's efforts to convince Bayit Yehudi to join the coalition without Yesh Atid bore no fruit.
Attorney David Shimron, head of the Likud Beytenu negotiating team, said after the meeting that by sticking to its pact with Yesh Atid, Bennett's party is also rejecting the haredim. "We don't accept rejecting entire population groups," he stated, adding that his party would have to review how to deal with the issue in future negotiations.
Gafni said in response that "it has become clear that when Bennett says 'brothers' he means hatred of brothers and the boycott of brothers. This hatred is so deep that in exchange he sends the destiny of the land of Israel into the hands of Yesh Atid and Yair Lapid who attacked the settlers in Judea and Samaria."
Gafni suggested that the "political newbie" Bennett would get his comeuppance, saying "the Knesset building is much rounder than it looks from outside."
Shimron had already stated on Thursday that Yesh Atid had made clear in meetings that it would not sit in a government with the haredi parties.
Both Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid rejected Shimron's statements, saying that, while neither party is rejecting sitting in a government with the haredim as Shimron stated, both parties are more committed than ever to maintaining the pact by which they will only join the coalition together.
Amid his failure to break the pact between Lapid and Bennett, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, facing a deadline to form a coalition, was expected to ask President Shimon Peres for a two-week extension on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Channel 10 reported that US President Barack Obama would cancel his trip to Israel this month if a coalition were not formed by March 16.