Despite the fact that Shas chairman Eli Yishai is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday, the meeting is not expected to change the fact that the party will remain outside the government. Both Shas and Likud said that if regional circumstances shift, “Shas can reconsider its position with regard to joining the coalition.”
At the conclusion of today’s meeting, the two negotiating teams agreed to meet again should circumstances change.
The Shas party is at odds with Likud over Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to expel the Jews living in Gaza and the northern Shomron from their homes. The two parties are also at odds with regard to social issues and matters regarding the extent of Israel’s Jewish character.
Earlier this week, Eli Yishai announced “Rav Ovadia Yosef will not change his ruling regarding [the permissibility according to Jewish law of] the disengagement plan just so the Shas party can join the government.” The party’s spiritual leader’s position was the central focus of today’s discussion between the negotiators.