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'Only a Unified National Camp Can Keep Israel Jewish'

MK Yoni Chetboun calls on Netanyahu to swap Yesh Atid for hareidi MKs in coalition, says Lapid attempting to make Israel 'universalist.'
By Hezki Ezra and Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/11/2014, 5:50 PM

Yoni Chetboun
Yoni Chetboun
Flash90

Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) MK Yoni Chetboun called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to change the coaltion government on Wednesday, asking to replace left-leaning Yesh Atid with the hareidi parties. 

"Only a unified national camp will keep the state's Jewish identity intact," Chetboun said. "Yesh Atid is a movement looking to challenge Israel's Jewish identity and transform it into a universalist state."

Chetboun added that Tuesday's election results proved that hope remains for the unification of the national-religious and hareidi parties, which have experienced tensions relating to the Equal Burden of Service (hareidi draft) law passed earlier this year.

"The hareidi MKs' support for [President Reuven] Rivlin proves that it is possible to reformulate the national camp," Chetboun said. "The most significant battle today is for the identity of the State of Israel, and only a unified national camp can keep Israel Jewish."

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid threatened to leave the coalition at the Herzliya Conference Sunday if Israel annexed large settlement blocs, a plan pushed forward by Economics Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett.

Following the controversial remarks, several MKs have suggested that Yesh Atid leave the coalition - whether to cause early elections or to unite the nationalist camp.

Chetboun is not the first MK to suggest that hareidi parties replace Yesh Atid; on Sunday, Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel stated that most of the Jewish Home wants to see just that. 

"We want to have a future where there is an option for Yesh Atid to leave and for the Prime Minister to allow the hareidi parties to enter," Ariel stated. 

"There are rifts and there is anger, but at the same time, the national-Religious and hareidi communities have a great interest in joining together and strengthening Torah values, both in the World and in Israel," he said.

He rejected claims that the hareidi leadership would rather see the coalition break down and the country go to elections instead of simply replacing Yesh Atid in the coalition.