After the prime minister agreed to a different demand raised by Lieberman, to change the government system in Israel, Shas fears that the secular marriage demand will also be accepted and plans to stop such a move.
"The prime minister is a smart and wise person, and knows exactly what are the sensitivities, on the level of explosives, needed to maintain the current coalition. Olmert is well aware of our red lines," Communications Minister Ariel Atias told Ynet.
Shas Chairman Eliyahu Yishai does not leave any room for interpretations.
"Any legislation on religious issues should be accepted by all factions in the coalition. Secular marriage, as far as we are concerned, is irrelevant. It is not on the agenda and it is not something which should be discussed altogether," he said.
Yishai noted that it was important that the coalition agreements make it possible to find solutions for the problem of people prohibited of marriage according to the Jewish law, "but a Cohen and a divorcee? If Lieberman comes up with some solution to marry them, we will never accept it. This will never happen."
Minister Meshulam Nahari added that Lieberman's demand constitutes a harsh blow to the status quo.
"Since the State's establishment and to this day, no one every imagined a possibility of civil marriage. If no one dared to do such a thing during Shinui's time, when Shas was in the opposition, it is difficult to believe that someone would dare pass the secular marriage law," he said.
'No better partner than Shas'
Senior Shas officials added that "anyone who submits a bill which follows in Shinui's footsteps will end up like Shinui did."
According to Minister Yitzhak Cohen, "any bill submitted to the government's approval will have to be approved by Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar."
Minister Nahari rules that there is no room for the freedom of vote which Lieberman demands for the coalition factions on the issue of secular marriage.
"We can also ask for freedom of vote on any issue, and then there will be no coalition. If each person does as he pleases, there will be no coalition," he said.
Nahari took the opportunity to remind Olmert that "there is no better partner than Shas. Shas is loyal today, does not create disagreements and disputes like the Labor Party does, day and night. I find it difficult to believe that someone will help to weaken this partnership."