Yaakov Peri Says Relationship with Jewish Home Untenable
Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), has launched a scathing attack on the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) party, saying that irreconcilable political differences mean that one of the two parties will eventually have to leave the coalition.
"There is a huge chasm between Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home. One of these parties will need to leave the coalition - or we will have to have new elections," said Peri, speaking at a "Shabbat of Culture" event at the Habima Theatre.
Foreign policy - including the two party's conflicting positions over ongoing talks with the Palestinian Authority aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, which the Jewish Home opposes - was one of the major points of contention between the two sides.
Peri singled out Housing Minister Uri Ariel for special criticism, accusing him of "sabotaging" talks with the Palestinian Authority, as well as relations with the US, through his recent announcement of 20,000 building tenders for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria last week.
He claimed that as a result of Jewish Home's actions, "The negotiations with the Palestinians will fail, and the crisis with the Americans will deepen, and this could certainly deteriorate into a third intifada."
Peri also related to tensions with the Jewish Home party over proposed new laws which would force hareidi yeshiva students to enlist into the Israeli army. A move to end the exemption of hareidim from the army enjoys a great deal of popular support in Israel, and calls for an "equal sharing of the national burden" were one of the key policy issues which united the right-wing Jewish Home and left-wing Yesh Atid parties following the general elections earlier this year.
But the two parties have very different views on how to enforce the measures, with the Jewish Home party staunchly opposed to calls by Yesh Atid to enforce criminal sanctions - including jail time - on hareidi draft-dodgers, instead advocating for "economic sanctions" such as the cutting of state benefits to those who refuse to serve.
Peri insisted that Yesh Atid would stand by its demands for the enforcement of criminal sanctions, saying that economic sanctions alone "would not be effective", saying that his party would not budge on the issue even if it meant falling out with the Jewish Home or bolting the government.
His comments come as senior Jewish Home officials have also warned of a potential breakdown in relations between the two coalition partners over proposed civil marriage laws tabled by Yesh Atid.