Interior Minister and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai on Saturday evening lashed out at Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett in response to their advanced coalition talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's Likud-Beiteinu political alliance.
Yishai went on to predict that the next Knesset elections would be held within "less than two years."
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"The threats, the spins and the arm wrestling are almost over, and we are approaching the introduction of the new government members, "Yishai wrote on his Facebook page.
"You have managed to bring about the reality you prayed for – not one haredi person will stand next to you during the photo op on the President's Residence lawn. But the day after, as the victory cheer of those who took the prime minister captive in order to fulfill their whims comes to an end, the 2013 elections will be remembered as the day in which an entire public, traditional and haredi, was boycotted simply due to its faith and perception."
Bennett and Lapid at Knesset (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
The Shas leader slammed the next government members' shared desire "to leave the haredim out no matter what." He stressed that "the stain of boycotting the public I represent – whether the traditional, haredi or secular – will not be erased."
Criticizing the Habayit Hayehudi chairman, Yishai said: "Enough with the pathetic use of the word 'brother,'" referring to Bennett's repeated use of the word during the election campaign.
He stressed that the connection between Bennett and Lapid was unnatural, linking Yesh Atid's goals to the government's stability. "When Lapid moves on to his next mission, harming the settlers and Judea and Samaria settlements, our brothers the settlers won't have to knock on our doors for help. We will report without waiting for the call. We have always been there and we'll always be there.
"Shas has no intention of turning the knife stabbed in our back in your direction. We will prove to you that, even from our new place, that we remain loyal to our perception and faith that we are real brothers."
The Shas chairman stressed that his party would go to the opposition "with its head held high and proudly." He predicted that "in less than two years, when we are once again subject to the voters' choice, I know they will favor the way of understanding, dialogue and embrace over the way of boycott, distancing and radicalization. They won't lend their hand to the route taken in the past few weeks, aimed at turning our society from a society with disputed to a divided society."
According to sources in the Likud Beiteinu, Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi parties, Prime Minister Netanyahu hopes to present his new government as early as Wednesday.
The sources added that the coalition talks are being held on the basis of two possible scenarios: Lapid's appointment as finance minister and Bennett as industry and trade minister, or Lapid's appointment as interior minister and Bennett as finance minister.
Moran Azulay contributed to this report