Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett
Photo: Ido Erez
Shas' Yishai and Deri
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Habayit Hayehudi leveled harsh criticism at Shas Monday, saying that the orthodox party's "self-professed monopoly on religion is the reason for the secular public's disdain of the Torah."
The statement was made against the backdrop of the coalition negotiations. Habayit Hayehudi is attempting to bridge platform gaps vis-à-vis Yesh Atid, and should both be able to join the new government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not need Shas in order for form a solid coalition.
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"Anyone looking for the reasons why Israeli society is so divided needs look no further than Shas," a party source told Ynet.
"It's high time Shas understands that they don’t have a monopoly on the Torah. We're just as committed to the Halacha as they are and we can protect the religious sector just as well.
"If they can claim a monopoly on anything, it is on alienating the secular public and making it turn away from the Torah. From the haredi draft to daylight savings time – Shas never missed a chance to shy away from demonstrating progressive Judaism."
Another Habayit Hayehudi source said that "The local rabbinates have been bulldozed by the haredi establishment and have turned into a stipend machine."
Shas was pessimistic about its chances to join the coalition, saying that Yesh Atid "has a black-or-white attitude."
Shas refused to officially comment on Habayit Hayehudi's remarks, but a senior party source said that "These are excuses by a party desperate for a kosher stamp.
"The want to make joining Lapid, civil marriage, public transportation on Shabbat and the haredi draft kosher. They want to open the status quo up for discussion after 70 years.
"That's a shame, but we're still willing to try and find common ground. It's a shame that they are willing to destroy everything that was built here for the sake of power."
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