Lapid attempts secret deal with hassidic sect over anti-haredi bills - report

Secret talks were held between the foreign minister and the Gur Hassidim sect for the scrapping of anti-haredi bills in exchange for a Knesset "security net."

 Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather during the funeral ceremony of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in the streets near the cemetery  in the city of Bnei Brak, on March 20, 2022 (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather during the funeral ceremony of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in the streets near the cemetery in the city of Bnei Brak, on March 20, 2022
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has been holding secret meetings with a representative of the Gur Hassidim sect for negotiations on scrapping of bills considered anti-haredi (ultra-Orthodox), N12 reported on Sunday evening.

Negotiations were reportedly held over the last few months between Lapid and Yitzhak Shapira, the son-in-law of Gerrer rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter. 

The talks focused on the scrapping of the kosher phones reform led by Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel. Hendel sought to reform what has been described as a monopoly of a rabbinic committee over the haredi kosher cellphone market.

According to the report, the foreign minister asked for a "security net" from haredi factions in Knesset votes for the next six months in exchange for the nixing of the kosher phones reform.

During the negotiations, the haredi negotiator also reportedly requested a month with no anti-haredi sentiment from all coalition members.

 KOSHER PHONES: Fiefdom of a sort? (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90) KOSHER PHONES: Fiefdom of a sort? (credit: NATI SHOHAT/FLASH90)

The negotiations reportedly began after Shapira met with President Isaac Herzog and raised the haredi sector's "distress" over the reform. Following the talks with Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had a Prime Minister's Office staff member meet with Shapira and arrange the secret negotiations with Lapid.

The negotiations were halted without an agreement being made after the Knesset began its two-month spring recess, the report stated.