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PM Reaches Out to Shas, Yesh Atid - But Not Yet Jewish Home

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet Thursday with Shas chairman Eli Yishai, as he seeks to build a coalition.
By David Lev
First Publish: 1/24/2013, 8:31 AM

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

As part of his attempts to form a new government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet Thursday with Shas chairman Eli Yishai. The purpose of the meeting, sources said, was to explore ways in which Shas could fit into a coalition with a large Yesh Atid contingent.

As part of its coalition agreement, Yesh Atid is set to demand that the government adopt a policy that would require Hareidi yeshiva students to serve in the IDF – something Shas has resisted for years. During the election campaign, Shas spiritual advisor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said that if a draft was enacted for yeshiva students, they would need to leave the country.

According to Channel Two, Netanyahu spoke with new Shas MK Aryeh Deri three times since the projections for the makeup of the Knesset were released on Tuesday at 10 PM. Sources in the Likud believe that a formula can be worked out to enable Shas and Yesh Atid to sit in the same government.

Netanyahu has also spoken to Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, as well as to the leaders of United Torah Jewry, according to Channel Two. Meanwhile, the report added, he has yet to pick up the phone and call Naftali Bennett of Jewish Home.