Leaders of the haredi factions met on Tuesday to coordinate their positions in an effort to minimize the expected blow
on yeshiva students
who do not enlist in the IDF.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman
and MK Moshe Gafni,
the United Torah Judaism
leaders, met with Shas Party
Leader Eli Yishai
and discussed ways of action ahead of coalition negotiations.
"We coordinated our positions on the yeshiva students draft issue," Minister Yishai told Ynet after the meeting.
"We decided to be fully coordinated on the issue. It's obvious that without proper legislation, reached by agreement, we will not join the coalition.
"Our red lines are the same on this; we share the same world of the Torah and the same principles. Both they and we will not tolerate Torah scholars to be torn away from their yeshivot."
Prime Minister Netayahu and Minister Eli Yishai (Photo: Noam Moskovich)
The parties failed to agree on joint negotiations teams but according to Yishai "it's not impossible that both our representatives and the United Torah Judaism's representatives will face the Likud
together on agreed issues and more comprehensive negotiations will take place."
MK Gafni's office stated that "indeed there is an intention to form a unified front on the yeshiva students issue and Rabbi Gafni is tirelessly working together with Rabbi Litzman to form a front of all those who care for the preservation of the Torah world."
Before the meeting, Litzman and Gafni also met with Shas' Aryeh Deri
who is vacationing in southern Israel.
Over the weekend it was reported that Shas and the United Torah Judaism are in intensive talks in an effort to form a haredi bloc to include 18 mandates.
Gafni said then that "The people may have spoken by giving Yair Lapid 19 Knessset seats but the same people also gave the haredi parties 18 mandates. We'll probably join forces on the basic issues. We have similar principles in that respect."
Shas party leader Aryeh Deri made similar comments. He noted that the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has instructed him to "go into the negotiations together."
"He urged us, 'tell Netanyahu that on the issue of yeshiva students we're 18 mandates, not 11'," Deri remarked.
The Shas leader said that the two parties will be coordinated on the issue of haredi enlistment as well as the funding of yeshivot.
Shas officials expressed disappointment with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid's positions conveyed to them by the Likud-Beiteinu. They are claiming that Lapid does not want them in the coalition. "Yair is like his father Tommy Lapid, only he talks differently so as not to rub anyone the wrong way. He continues to harden his positions on equal share of the burden and is trying to exclude us from the coalition," a Shas official said.
"Lapid won't talk to us directly, it feels like he's running the show."
Members in the ultra-Orthodox party said that neither Shas nor the United Torah Judaism can accept Lapid's terms as far as drafting yeshiva students.
Yesh Atid, on its part, stressed that equal share of the burden, is their red line in coalition negotiations. "We'll sit alongside anyone who is willing to sign off on the Lapid plan for equal share of the burden and integration into the work force. The choice is clear and we do not fear sitting in the opposition."
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