Shas to mull leaving coalition tonight

Party's Council of Torah Sages to convene at home of party mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Yishai 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Yishai 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Shas's Council of Torah Sages will convene at the home of party mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Jerusalem's Har Nor neighborhood on Sunday night to consider leaving Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition over the diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians. The council is not expected to authorize leaving the coalition at this stage, but the rabbis will likely decide to empower Yosef and Shas chairman Eli Yishai to leave the government when they see fit, without another meeting of the council. Yishai will brief the rabbis about his meeting with Olmert last week and report what he hears from the Prime Minister's Office following Olmert's meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier Sunday. "The council meeting is a step on the way to leaving the coalition, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it will happen soon," a Shas official said Saturday night. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will meet at her Jerusalem office with representatives of the bereaved families and reserve soldiers who have repeatedly called upon Olmert to quit. Livni asked the group not to bring with them any politicians connected to them such as Tafnit leader Uzi Dayan. "There is no political significance to the meeting," Livni's spokesman Gil Messing said. "It's the right of everyone who paid a price for the war to meet with her face to face as one of the decision-makers of the war. But she won't meet any politicians or mediators." National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who is close to Labor chairman Ehud Barak, will also meet with the bereaved families and reserve soldiers Sunday. The bereaved families and reserve soldiers are planning a mass rally outside the Knesset following the January 30 publication of the final Winograd Report. Author David Grossman, who lost his son Uri on the last day of the war, will be the event's featured speaker.