Report: Likud and UTJ Deal On the Rocks

UTJ source tells Arutz Sheva that Likud has retracted prior agreements to repeal criminal sanctions from Enlistment Law.

Haim Lev, Cynthia Blank,

Moshe Gafni, Ya'akov Litzman
Moshe Gafni, Ya'akov Litzman
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Reports Saturday night indicate that negotiations talks betweem United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Likud, previously said to be in their final stages, have hit a wall. 

Likud, apparently, has backtracked on complying with all of UTJ's requirements in regard to the Enlistment Law, thereby creating tension between the ruling party and representatives of the haredi party. 

According to earlier reports, a final agreement between Likud and UTJ was to include a clause guaranteeing the cancellation of the criminal sanctions in the Enlistment Law, which sought to force haredim to enlist in the IDF.

But, a UTJ source told Arutz Sheva, Likud has retracted prior agreements. He did not go into details, but noted that the party hoped to bring major changes to the law led by Yesh Atid and Jewish Home in the last coalition. 

On Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met personally with Yisrael Beytenu and Jewish Home heads, Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett, respectively. 

During his meeting with the Prime Minister, Liberman demanded a copy of all the agreements Likud had made with the haredi parties on issues of religion and state, before making clear he opposed any change to current policy. 

Meanwhile, Reshet Bet reported that Jewish Home is also opposed to making changes to the Enlistment Law and the controversial Conversion Law, which allows municipal and neighborhood rabbis  to initiate and execute conversion processes

According to the UTJ source, the party is willing to settle on a number of issues, but not on the Enlistment Law. 

"Although United Torah Judaism compromised on a number of subjects, in regard to the Enlistment Law, the party demands sticking to the original agreement - and that does not appear to be happening now," the source said. 

Likud's change in tune may be a result of the difficulties in coming to an agreement with both Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu. Reneging on repealing the criminal sanctions could be seen as a move to gain the two parties' favor. 

In any case, UTJ representatives are expected to meet with Likud representatives again on Sunday in the hopes of signing a final coalition agreement in the coming days. 

In light of the aforementioned developments, it remains unclear if the talks will advance toward a signing this week. 




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