Litzman: we’re backing Netanyahu, no way we’ll join govt with Lapid.

Aryeh Deri was more cautious, saying that a broad government is a possibility.

United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman ruled out sitting in government with Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid Wednesday morning, after the ultra-Orthodox parties preserved their strong showing from the elections in April.
Litzman has held a long-time grudge against Lapid ever since the latter drastically cut welfare benefits and passed a law to draft the ultra-Orthodox into the army during his time in government in 2013 - 2015.
UTJ and Litzman have been careful not to rule out a coalition with Lapid’s fellow party leader Benny Gantz, who they hope could join a government with Likud and the religious parties.
Gantz has however ruled out sitting in government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We are at the moment with Netanyahu until the end,” Litzman told Ynet on Wednesday.
“If they want to do a unity government I have no problem with it, without Lapid though. That’s the only thing I’m not willing to do,” he continued.
“He harmed us, he shamed us, and never apologized. I won’t move at all from this position,” he said, adding that he would sit in the opposition if need be.
“I have been in the opposition before, and nothing terrible happened.”
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri was more cautious in his pronouncements on which coalition his ultra-Orthodox party might join.
“My assumption is that we will be in the coalition. No one has a majority to dissolve the Knesset which means we have to create a government. Will it be a small government of 56 with another party. Could it be a broad government? It could be,” ventured Deri.
The Shas leader rejected however demands Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman has made as preconditions for entering the government, including passing a law to increase ultra-Orthodox enlistment to the IDF, repeal a law restricting commercial activity on Shabbat; a law to allow public transport on Shabbat, a law to establish civil marriage, and the inclusion of core curriculum studies into the ultra-Orthodox education system.
“Today, no one can make conditions. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to create vetos from the outset. Anyone with vetos will stay outside [the government],” warned Deri.
“The preconditions [of Liberman] are arrogance.”