Hareidim Fear Bibi Betraying Them

Shas, UTJ, thought Netanyahu would refrain from hard measures on enlistment, now think otherwise.

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Gil Ronen,

Rav Ovadia, Eli Yishai, Netanyahu.
Rav Ovadia, Eli Yishai, Netanyahu.
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Hareidi leaders are worried by what they see as an about-face by the Prime Minister on the issue of hareidi enlistment to the IDF and alternative national service.

Until last week, the hareidi leadership believed Netanyahu would not permit tough sanctions against non-enlisting hareidim, but by Monday they were less confident of this.

A senior member of Shas told IDF Radio that the Prime Minister is "on a collision course" with the hareidim. "We agreed to an offer that they hadn't dreamed of in their rosiest dreams," he said, "but Netanyahu is being dragged along by Kadima, which wants to see blood."

"Netanyahu is capable of changing his position dozens more times," a source in UTJ told the military's radio station. "And yet, the feeling is that the situation is not good and that Netanyahu is capable of breaking the historic alliance with the hareidim."

Senior Shas politicians told Maariv-NRG Sunday that Kadima wants Shas to leave the coalition so that Kadima can take its ministerial portfolios. Netanyahu reportedly told Shas's leaders that he wants their party in his coalition, but they will have to show flexibility.

UTJ has been issuing warnings to Netanyahu that it might prefer Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich as prime minister in the next elections, and not Netanyahu, if he does not shape up.