Deri: Either this government or new elections

Shas leader says party will insist on Interior, Housing Ministries, protect yeshiva budgets.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Aryeh Dei
Aryeh Dei
Hezki Baruch

The MKs of the Shas party met Tuesday afternoon for the first parliamentary session of the 21st Knesset. At the beginning of the meeting, Shas chairman Aryeh Deri updated the party's MKs on the status of the coalition negotiations.

"I appointed a professional team headed by Rabbi Ariel Atias, we do the negotiations quietly, without threats and without traveling abroad, and my relations with Netanyahu are excellent in order to deal directly with him," Deri said.

"We supported Netanyahu from the start," he said. "We promised the voters and so we believe. We want to continue this partnership, and not to my liking, all the conduct in the media and the spread of threats. It's not respectable."

Deri clarified that there is no chance for a unity government or a government which will have a different com position than expected. "There is no possibility for another government. Or this government or new elections. There is no other option. It's a pity to threaten and set red lines and then withdraw from them."

On the challenges posed by Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Liberman, Deri said that "I read headlines about a halachic state. We're not really in that direction. We want to maintain the status quo and it is others who want to change it. We want a Jewish and traditional state and we will insist on that."

"Of course, the world of Torah and yeshivot is very important to us. We will preserve their status and their budgets. I learned that during this term of office the yeshiva budgets had been eroded. Perhaps I trusted others on this subject, but this time that Shas will take responsibility for it and correct it.

"In the past, we gave up important offices in order to deal with social issues, such as the Interior Ministry, the Galilee and Periphery, the religious services for everyone, and of course the housing issue that we took upon ourselves to provide shelter for all young couples and to handle public housing. The subject of education is one of the most important to us, and I instructed the negotiating team what to demand in the Ministry of Education.

Deri said, "We demand the housing portfolio, and together with the planning director who will return to the Interior Ministry, I think we can do a lot in the field. I think it's also in UTJ's interest that everyone get other fields.