MK Aryeh Deri, one of the three heads of the Shas party, responded Thursday evening after Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, a former journalist, announced that when pictures of the new government are taken he does not plan to be photographed alongside Shas ministers.
"If, on the day of the government's swearing-in, I am photographed in the Presidential Residence with a Shas minister standing next to me, I will have ended my political career," Lapid reportedly said.
Lapid “isn’t aware that in public life things do not go according to the zoom on the camera,” Deri wrote on his Facebook page.
He continued, stating that whoever puts the good of the country first “does not bother with the angle a picture is taken from, or with boycotts, but rather acts responsibly to deal with the important challenges facing the nation."
“Shas will continue to act with sensitivity and responsibility on all the key issues, both economic and social, in order to reach a broad consensus,” Deri concluded.
Lapid has repeatedly stated that he does not plan to be “a fifth wheel in a hareidi and far-right government,” an apparent reference to a coalition that would include the hareidi-religious Shas and Yahadut Hatorah (United Torah Judaism) parties as well as Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home).
Lapid has made the issue of unqualified hareidi army enlistment one of his key platform points. His position puts him at odds with Shas, which says there is room for compromise on the issue but not for force, and with Yahadut Hatorah, which has said that only those who are not learning Torah full-time should be required to serve. Bayit Yehudi has essentially taken the same position as Shas and Yahadut Hatorah, although most religious Zionists - except a small number studying full-time in higher yeshivas - join the IDF through hesder, mechina or regular programs of service.