Haredi Lawmakers: Gantz won't be Prime Minister

Shas declares boycott of Knesset votes in protest of Blue and White's support of ban on conversion therapy. 'We won't cooperate with Gantz.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Moshe Gafni
MK Moshe Gafni
Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Haredi lawmakers excoriated the Blue and White party Wednesday afternoon, after Blue and White party chairman and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz endorsed a bill which would outlaw gay conversion therapy.

After the bill passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset by a margin of 42 to 36, members of both the Shas and United Torah Judaism parties slammed the Blue and White party, which backed the bill, and criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for allowing Blue and White to back a bill submitted by an Opposition MK and not adopted by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

The Shas party announced Wednesday afternoon that in light of the vote, the party’s nine-member Knesset delegation would boycott future Knesset votes.

“We will not participate in Knesset plenum votes until further notice.”

United Torah Judaism went even farther, declaring that it is halting all cooperation with Blue and White in the government and also calling on local haredi officials across the country not to cooperate with Blue and White representatives.

“The bill which was passed [in its initial reading] harms the sanctity of the family and constitutes a serious violation of the coalition agreement,” UTJ said in a statement. “The support by Blue and White members [of the bill] has damaged the trust United Torah Judaism has placed in Blue and White.”

“We are stopping, effective immediately, all cooperation with Blue and White, and we call on haredi public leaders and local officials not to cooperate with Blue and White representatives or to invite them for area tours.”

Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said the vote highlighted the divide with the government, and could threaten its future stability if the Likud does not enforce coalition discipline.

“The unacceptable behavior of Blue and White is in violation of the coalition discipline and will make political cooperation with them a challenge. The Likud must decide whether it knows how to manage a coalition or whether it has lost its political will.”

Other UTJ lawmakers echoed Litzman’s message.

"We won't cooperate with Blue and White. But the Likud government was also a disappointment," said MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism). "Where was Prime Minister Netanyahu? And why did Amir Ohana vote in favor," Gafni continued, referring to the Likud Internal Security minister, who is openly homosexual. "Are they considering us at all?"

“If the Likud isn’t able to muster a majority against [the bill] on an issue that is so important to the haredi public, he is lost," said Deputy Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism).

MK Yaakov Asher (UTJ) said that “It is expected from a party which aspires to be a ruling party that it will behave responsibly and not be motivated by whims or desire for revenge, and certainly not on issues that are so important in Judaism.”

“This harms the mutual responsibility of the coalition and its discipline. Judaism cannot be held hostage to struggles between the Likud and Blue and White.”