Daily Israel Report

Hareidi Parties May Go Left

Hareidi-religious parties Shas and Yahadut Hatorah say they may not ally with the right after the next elections.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/31/2012, 12:14 AM

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Recent polls have shown Likud-Yisrael Beytenu in the lead in the Knesset race, leading analysts to anticipate that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will find it easy to put together a coalition when the race is over.

Not so fast, hareidi parties said Tuesday. Representatives from Shas and Yahadut Hatorah said they may not ally with the political Right after the elections. “Nothing is final,” they said.

A source in Yahadut Hatorah told Arutz Sheva that the party is not happy with Netanyahu’s treatment. “Keep in mind, during this term Likud did not stand by the hareidi community even once during the various affairs that came to public attention,” he said.

“The Likud did not support us during the Emmanuel prisoners affair, or when the Israeli street raged against us over ‘discrimination against women,’ or when it came to financial aid,” he continued. “In everything related to the Tal Law it zigzagged, while pouring fuel on the media fire of anti-hareidi criticism, until finding a possible solution not yet approved by Knesset.”

A spokesman for Shas said his party is concerned by Yisrael Beytenu head Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. “Over the past year Lieberman has criticized the coalition partnership with Shas more than once,” he noted.

“In media interviews Lieberman has repeatedly said that the government must be secular, and free of ‘parties that are not nationalist-Zionist,’ when what he means is hareidi parties,” he added. Shas’ decision “will depend on Binyamin Netanyahu – his message during the campaign, his promises after elections.”

An article in the hareidi-religious paper Hamodia voiced similar frustration with the current administration. The Netanyahu-Lieberman unity “pushes out small parties, that is, religious and hareidi parties… The slogan shouted by Likud members celebrating the unity with Lieberman was – from now on, since the small hareidi parties are less important, ‘Likud Beytenu’ will finally be able to create ‘equality in service,’ that is the forcible enlistment of holy yeshiva students,” the article stated.

“The center-left parties have treated the hareidi parties and Torah institutions with a lot more respect, a lot more support for education and social welfare than the anti-hareidi right,” it argued.