Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) on Saturday night accused Bayit Yehudi chairman MK Naftali Bennett of abandoning the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria by forming an alliance with the Yesh Atid party headed by Yair Lapid.
Yishai’s comments came after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was granted a two week extension by President Shimon Peres to form a coalition. Netanyahu, in a veiled reference to Bayit Yehudi, said that the reason he has not yet succeeded in forming a coalition is “that there are boycotts,” referring to the fact that Yesh Atid (and by extension, Bayit Yehudi, because of the pact) is refusing to join a coalition with the hareidi-religious parties.
“Lapid's hatred towards us is stronger than Bennett’s love for the various parts of the Land of Israel and his concern for settlement, otherwise he would know that the price for his alliance for Lapid will be a high price for the residents of Judea and Samaria,” Yishai wrote on his Facebook page.
“The partnership between the two will hurt the camp which raises the banner that says that there will not be another disengagement, the camp that understands that security comes before peace,” added Yishai. “Bennett may win the battle but he will lose the war. Bayit Yehudi has sold their souls - their main flag - the future of the settlement enterprise. The coming days will determine the final composition of the government without the hareidim and what will be determined that same day is also the future of the settlement enterprise. Bennett sacrificed the future of the settlement on the altar of the hatred towards hareidim.”
Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid have made a pact, agreeing to enter the coalition together or not at all, so they can guarantee a coalition ally with similar goals.
Lapid insists on implementing a strict program to enlist hareidi-religious yeshiva students into the army, making it nearly impossible for Netanyahu to form a coalition with Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi and the hareidi parties.
Bayit Yehudi, while agreeing with Lapid’s intention to enlist hareidi-religious yeshiva students into the army, has never said it would refuse to sit in a coalition with the hareidim and indicated that it would be willing to negotiate with them on this issue, despite claims otherwise by Likud negotiators.
MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said Saturday that the alliance between her party and Yesh Atid is rock solid.
"The situation at this moment is that we are going into a government with Yesh Atid," MK Shaked told Channel 10. She added that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had missed the boat for getting Bayit Yehudi to join his coalition independently of Yesh Atid.
"If the prime minister had turned to us immediately after the elections, we would have gone in," she said.
Despite the mutual allegations between the parties, reports Saturday night indicated that Netanyahu and Bennett will meet on Sunday in an attempt to advance the coalition negotiations.