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Video: Party Leaders Recommend Netanyahu, Hareidim Fear Rift

Representatives of the elected lists arrived at the President's Residence to declare their recommendation for the next PM.
By Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 2/1/2013, 3:46 AM

One after the other the representatives of the elected lists for the next Knesset arrived on Wednesday and Thursday at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, to declare their recommendation for the next Prime Minister of Israel.

No surprises were listed, however each party had their own angle to the recommendation.

Members of the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu joint list were first and MK Gidon Saar said to President Shimon Peres, "There is one list that received the most votes from the Israeli electorate -- Likud and Yisrael Beytenu. Practically speaking, there is today only one candidate that can put together a stable and politically inclusive government for Israel."

Trying to emphasize what he is trying to present as "new clean and pure politics", Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid noted that he is acting simply according to his party's platform. "The Yesh Atid party platform states that the head of the largest party is always the one who should be the prime minister. The head of the largest party is Binyamin Netanyahu, leading Yesh Atid to recommend that Binyamin Netanyahu should assemble the next government."

MK Shelly Yechimovich, the chairwoman of the Labor party, declared that she will not be joining the coalition with her party but made sure to note that she won't act against the government all the time. "We will offer full support for essential security related actions," stated  Yechimovich, "and we will also, of course, back the government with any action that will, on some level, help push ahead the peace process. This will be done from the opposition. We informed the president that we will not be part of a government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu. This is not a personal disqualification, but rather due to clear ideological differences."

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, spoke about the ideals and vision of the list and explained that he is acting according to what was declared prior to the elections. "In the name of the party," said Bennett, "I recommend Binyamin Netanyahu to assemble the government. We declared this throughout the election campaign and we are of course sticking to our word."

The hareidi-religious parties Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) did not surprise and they too supported Netanyahu. However, in the wake of the "equal burden" campaign which might leave the two parties out of the government, the representatives spoke strongly against any changes forced on the Yeshiva world in Israel.

"The thing that worries me the most, and I feel is happening now here," said MK Eli Yishai, co-chairman of Shas, "is an attempt to create a rift in the nation. This is being done by people who are focusing efforts... and I will be harsh now... efforts to harm the world of Torah."

"Torah study is something that protects us," MK Yaakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism said to the president, "and so the basic principle must be that whoever wants to learn here must receive the opportunity to learn, without any limit. This is our basic and official position. We feel there is no reason to interfere in this issue, because if the situation changes it could cause serious contention in the nation, and this worries us."