Amid recent discussions of a potential government break up over the Kerry peace talks, Aryeh Deri, current chairman of Shas, shattered any hopes of Shas joining a new coalition committed to replacing Netanyahu’s government.
Speaking to Globes, Deri, reflecting his party’s interests, unequivocally stated that Shas remains steadfastly opposed to joining any breakoff coalition.
Especially, he added, given the options for the coalition leaders. "If the basis of such a coalition is Yair Lapid, then I don't see how we could enter the government,” he said bluntly.
The reason any party runs for government and joins a coalition is to influence policy, he explained. Shas joining a Likud coalition would not serve those ends, as, Deri believes, Shas wouldn't be able to influence policy in that framework.
Up until this point, Likud and Shas have not engaged in any ideological conversations neither about religion or politics, which has been a major deterrent for Shas to even consider any sort of political relationship with them.
For Shas to join Lapid, Deri said, Likud would “have to change their attitude to widening gaps and the disadvantaged, the poor, the middle class, and adopt other policies regarding the hareidim and world of Torah.”
He added sharply that “If they just want us to make up a minyan and to give us a few biscuits, then I don't need favors.”
He maintained that the current government, Netanyahu’s coalition, also must alter its attitude towards peace and hareidim, but they should be able to finish out their term in government: “There is no point in running to the ballot box every year,” he said.
Though everything is hypothetical at this point, the mere fact that Deri, among others, is even entertaining the idea of how they would operate the rise of an opposing coalition could mean trouble for Netanyahu’s government.