Coalition crisis
Netanyahu's Appeal to Hareidi Parties Revealed

Third report in 48 hours: PM approaches hareidi MKs - who say they want a commitment in writing. 'We don't trust Bibi anymore,' MKs say.

Haim Lev and Tova Dvorin,

Binyamin Netanyahu, Shas head Aryeh Deri
Binyamin Netanyahu, Shas head Aryeh Deri
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has appealed repeatedly to the hareidi parties, hareidi newspaper Hamevaser revealed Friday - even though United Torah Judaism (UTJ) officials reportedly turned him down in recent attempts to draft them into the coalition. 

Hareidi party demands include adding funds to yeshiva (Torah academy) budgets, adding funds to the State of Israel's child allowance grant, the repeal of the controversial Conversion Law and revoking criminal sanctions against draft-dodgers, according to Meyer Berger, Hamevaser's political analyst. 

The report implied that Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) is one of the mediators in the negotiation, and that he told hareidi party representatives that they are "part of the next coalition," asking them to "agree on issues [on Likud's behalf] in advance." 

"Our demands are known in advance," hareidi representatives allegedly replied. "You already know them." They added that they will not make any explicit promises on their end, as well, until individual issues were discussed. 

Berger added that, in corroboration with previous reports on an attempt to form a new coalition with hareidi parties, the hareidim have refused to make any strong commitments to Likud and that they claim Netanyahu is "not serious" about forming a coalition with them. 

"If you don't understand we will just say it again clearly: gone are the days we gave our trust to Bibi Netanyahu," they said. "Those days are over. They were and are no more."

They added that in the event Netanyahu could prove that he would acquiesce to their demands - preferably cementing the deal in writing - they would ask the religious leaders for advice on the issue, but that "we aren't there yet." 

Hareidi MKs are also reportedly livid over Netanyahu's unwillingness to make any promises regarding how he would handle issues such as the child allowance grant in the next Knesset, and that they are "realistic" in assessing that rushing into a coalition could "harm them in the long term." 

Friday's report represents an ongoing confusion regarding the outcome, and even the validity, of covert negotiations unfolding between Netanyahu and the hareidi parties.

On Thursday, a senior UTJ official told Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity that no negotiations whatsoever had taken place - at least, not yet.

“We have a 'green light' to talk to him, but we have not yet heard his opinions on our demands,” the source said of Netanyahu. “There is no practical proposal on the table right now. He wants us to promise to support him before he calls for new elections, but he has not told us that he will support our demands."

Hours earlier, Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu had directly appealed to hareidi parties, promising early elections if they made the recommendation that he lead the government. 

Two weeks ago, in an attempt to replace Yesh Atid in the coalition, Netanyahu reportedly turned to UTJ and Shas, saying he was willing to turn a "blind eye" and keep at arms' length from sensitive issues like the hareidi draft, even after passing that particular controversial bill into law.

However, UTJ and Shas turned him down, and sources told Arutz Sheva that they were unwilling to "save" Netanyahu's place in the government simply because he asked them to do so.

That attempt was followed by a public appeal from Netanyahu to all the parties in the opposition to join a unity government. That request was rejected as well. 




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