Above: Haredi MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman
What Are Haredim Demanding To Form A New Government With PM Benjamin Netanyahu? This…
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Member of Knesset Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, who heads the hasidic Agudath Israel faction of the haredi United Torah Judaism Party (UTJ), said today that the two haredi political parties, UTJ and the Sefardi haredi Shas Party, have not yet made a decision on who they will recommend to lead the next government after new elections. Yesterday, Litzman reportedly said the decision had been made to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party – but only if Netanyahu gives the haredi parties what they want in exchange.
Two days ago, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that Netanyahu may dissolve the government soon and call snap elections if he can lock in support from UTJ and Shas. This would allow him to jettison the centrist and largely secular Yesh Atid Party and possibly the right-wing Zionist Orthodox HaBayit HaYehudi Party from his coalition. Both of those parties are Netanyahu’s and Likud’s direct rivals.
Litzman said today that both haredi parties agreed that Netanyahu would have to beg their forgiveness – and pay dearly – to get what he wants from them.
“We’ve been injured by Netanyahu, and to win our support he’ll need to repent,” Litzman reportedly told Israel Radio.
A UTJ source said haredi support for Netanyahu – who is widely in the Israeli political community considered to be untrustworthy – would require written and signed promises from Netanyahu to:
1. Increase funding for haredi yeshivas,
2. Increase child benefits,
3. Scuttle Israel’s new conversion to Judaism law that takes conversion out of the exclusive control of Israel’s haredi-controlled chief rabbinate and allows local chief rabbis of cities, towns and rural areas – all of whom are Orthodox but many of whom are not haredi – to perform conversions just as halakha (Jewish law) empowers them to do,
4. Remove all criminal [and, likely, all civil] sanctions against haredi yeshiva students who violate the law and dodge the draft.
“Those are our principal demands, and this time we will insist on a satisfactory written agreement, not promises and smiles,” the unnamed UTJ Party official reportedly said, referring to what the party considers to be previous broken promises from Netanyahu, which the UTJ source went on to compare to an adulterer in a marriage seeking reconciliation with his spurned bride.
“[The list of demands is an] attempt to reunite a couple who have already lost faith and even fell apart after a betrayal. It's not simple. If there will be a written commitment then we will recommend Netanyahu form the next government. As of now, no such written commitment exists,” the UTJ source said.