Daily Israel Report

Peres Gives Netanyahu Coalition Nod

Rabbi Ovadia in a letter to the president: exert your influence to prevent a schism in the nation.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/2/2013, 7:54 PM

Peres and Netanyahu (file)
Peres and Netanyahu (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

President Shimon Peres summoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the Presidential Residence Saturday evening, and gave him the go-ahead for assembling the next government coalition.

Factions representing 82 elected Knesset Members recommended Netanyahu as the next prime minister.

Meanwhile, Sephardic hareidi party Shas is concerned that it will be left out of the next government, and that Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid will succeed in getting the new government to adopt its plan for enlistment of hareidi men to the IDF.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the revered spiritual head of the movement, sent a letter to Peres that was delivered by the co-chairmen of the party. In it, he implored Peres to exert his influence in order to prevent a national schism over the enlistment issue.

"Certainly, serious talks must be held and proper solutions must be found for those who do not fall under the category of 'toratam umanutam' (literally – "their Torah study is their profession – ed.)," the Rabbi wrote, "but G-d forbid that we cause a civil war that will tear apart and divide the Jewish nation."

"Honorable President," he added, "in view of your lofty position and the great influence you wield, I turn to you from a worried and aching heart, please use your influence in order to connect the hearts of all sectors in our nation. Please turn to them and guide them in the path of reason and agreement, and not the path of discord and hatred, so that our nation can remain united, and do not cause hatred among brothers."