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Progress in Likud-Bayit Yehudi Talks

MK: Netanyahu needs us, even if he doesn't want us.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/20/2013, 2:58 PM

MK Uri Ariel
MK Uri Ariel
Flash 90

The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party is moving forward in its coalition talks with Likud Beytenu, MK Uri Ariel said Wednesday, speaking to Arutz Sheva.

“There is progress, not in Kfar Maccabia in front of the cameras, but in various discussions with senior members of Likud,” he reported. However, he said, “it is not enough.”

Likud’s deal with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party “is cause for concern,” he said. The agreement will affect the Jewish Home party, which disagrees with Livni regarding concessions in Judea and Samaria and which Livni has dismissed as dangerously extremist.

It is also a blow to Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, who had hoped to be given the Justice Ministry portfolio that Netanyahu just gave to Livni, he noted.

However, Ariel scoffed at media reports, based on “senior Likud sources,” that Bayit Yehudi is “at war” with Likud. “That’s just spin from cowardly senior party members,” he said, adding, “It’s not for nothing that they’re hiding [under anonymity].”

Ultimately, he predicted, the Jewish Home party will be in the coalition. “Netanyahu needs us even if he doesn’t want us,” he said.

MK Ariel reported that in addition to Bayit Yehudi’s known understandings with Lapid and Yesh Atid, “we are in close contact with the hareidi parties.”

The party would have preferred an agreement with the hareidi parties, but the one it suggested was rejected by them, he revealed. “We proposed several times that we establish a joint religious front based on the Sabbath, the Land of Israel, and sharing the burden [of military service],” he said.

The hareidi-religious parties are steadfast in their rejection of mandatory military service for youth who wish to study Torah full-time, but there are signs of amenability to certain changes in the system.