MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism)
attacked Yair Lapid's
new political party "Yesh Atid," saying that Lapid is the perfect fit for the role of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
Speaking at a haredi convention in Nir Etzion on Tuesday, Gafni said the upcoming elections will be "very close, with the entire political map hinging on a few Knesset seats."
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman,
also from United Torah Judaism, warned that if Lapid will attack the haredi camp on the issue of army service "we will remind everyone what Lapid did during his military service," referring to his role as a writer for the IDF journal "BaMahane."
Gafni and Litzman (Photo: Eli Segel)
Addressing reports that Lapid plans to demand the education portfolio for Rabbi Shai Piron, who is placed second on Yesh Atid's Knesset list, Gafni said "we will never allow him (Piron) to serve as the State of Israel's
Gafni, who estimated that his party would gain more Knesset seats than "Kadima,
Independence Party and Chaim Amsellem combined," also leveled harsh criticism at the ruling Likud
"To the ultra-Orthodox who vote for the secular Likud party I have one thing to say: You are completely oblivious to the hell Likud has put us through," Gafni told the conference.
Nevertheless, he made it clear he intends to endorse Netanyahu for prime minister.
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Litzman, who heads United Torah Judaism's list, said that if his party joins forces with Shas
ahead of the elections, "we will demand the finance portfolio for Eli Yishai or Aryeh Deri."
Gafni, for his part, criticized senior Shas members who attended the conference and discussed ethnic discrimination. "They speak of discrimination? I've been working for a month and a half to enroll a girl from Elad in an ultra-Orthodox school. They refuse to accept her because they have already accepted the daughters of Shas leaders. There is not enough room for Sephardic girls in Ashkenazi schools and seminars because the children of Shas' leaders have taken up all the spots," he said.
Making a pointed dig at Shas politicians, Gafni added that "Members of United Torah Judaism have never been suspected or accused of any criminal activity. Instead of taking care of themselves, they take care of the public."
"We invest money and effort year-round, and in the end people vote for Shas," he said. "Why?"
Akiva Novick is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent