Daily Israel Report

Yesh Atid Rejected Hareidim, Says Likud Negotiator

Yesh Atid tells the Likud that it will refuse to be part of a coalition with hareidi-religious parties.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/1/2013, 4:12 AM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The coalition negotiation team of the Yesh Atid party told the Likud Beytenu’s team on Thursday that it would refuse to be part of a coalition with hareidi-religious parties, Channel 2 News reported.

The two teams held talks on Thursday over the possibility of Yesh Atid joining the government. At the end of the meeting, Attorney David Shimron who represents the Likud, said, “We had a good, long meeting. We discussed many issues and much of it was devoted to clarifying Yesh Atid’s position regarding the hareidi parties joining the government. We believe, as we said before, that the right way to achieve significant progress in a variety of issues and to face challenges is the establishment of as broad a government as possible.”

However, Shimron said, “The answer we received on this issue was, in fact, that as far as Yesh Atid is concerned, there is no room for hareidim in the government.”

He added, “We intend to place this question before the Bayit Yehudi, to see whether they also reject the hareidi parties. For this purpose, we have arranged a meeting with members of the Bayit Yehudi tomorrow morning and we will clarify this point.”

Yesh Atid and its head, Yair Lapid, are pushing for a radical program that will enlist all hareidi yeshiva students into the army. Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid have made a pact, agreeing to enter the coalition together or not at all, in an apparent attempt by both parties to guarantee a coalition ally with similar goals.

Lapid announced two weeks ago that when pictures of the new government are taken he does not plan to be photographed alongside Shas ministers, essentially rejecting joining a coalition with hareidi parties.

"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.

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, while also wishing to enlist hareidim, has expressed a willingness to negotiate with them on the issue.

On Thursday, MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said that a strong nationalist government must include hareidi-religious parties, warning Bennett not to disqualify the hareidim.

“The last time they tried to make a right-wing government without the hareidi parties, and to split the nationalist camp, it ended in the Disengagement,” he warned. “We must not repeat past mistakes.”