"Those are not easy negotiations," said United Torah Judaism Chairman
Yakov Litzman Wednesday, after his party embarked on coalition talks with Likud.
"We're facing many problems," Litzman said, add that his party would have to consult its spiritual leaders on matter such as "the problems posed by civil marriage and conversions… there are things we simply cannot accept."
The UTJ representatives also discussed issues of poverty, housing, education and the religious-secular status quo in their meeting with the Likud team,
headed by Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar.
Earlier Wednesday, it was Yisrael Beiteinu's turn
to meet with Sa'ar and his team. MK Stas Misezhnikov, who heads the right-wing party's negotiations team, told Ynet that while the meeting went well, there was no progress made on matters concerning civil marriage or the desired change in Israel's system
of government, but "we did note progress on the Citizenship Act."
The Likud's negotiation team's meeting with Shas ended
with no real results either: "We have complex issues to discuss," said Shas Chairman Eli Yishai. "There is the economy and the recession, we have social problems to deal with and the 'assimilation covenant'… We have wide gaps to bridge over. I hope the negotiations are swift."
Sa'ar described his meetings with the three parties as positive:" The talks went very well and focused on the issues and not the potential offices," he said. "We dealt with things in a serious manner, but I've never encountered negotiations that didn’t see any difference of opinion."
Nevertheless, he added, "There was genuine interest to bridge gaps. Everyone wants to form a stable coalition and that is not an easy thing to do. You can't put a coalition together in two days. We will share our demands with the (coalition) partners in later days… we want to see the budget approved and we have some reforms in mind.
"We made it clear that we want unity," said Sa'ar, "Everyone will have to compromise to an extant and everyone knows it."