Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov LitzmanHillel Maeir/TPS

Several days after Eli Yishai’s Yahad party announced it would withdraw from the Knesset race and support United Torah Judaism, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman explained on Monday that the agreement with Yishai was made after it became clear that votes for his party could go down the drain.

"I am the last to blame others. I had discussions with [Shas chairman Aryeh] Deri and he did not agree to everything. There is no agreement between us, but one thing I have to say is that we will not accept a left-wing government because someone has not passed the threshold," Litzman said in an interview with Radio Kol Chai.

He explained that, as far as he is concerned, it would have been better if Deri had cooperated with Yishai. "First of all, others should have included Eli Yishai. If Deri had joined with him, we would have been happy. When I saw that he could not fit in with any party, we decided to add him."

Deri, in a separate interview with Radio Kol Chai, also discussed Agudat Yisrael's agreement with Yishai, saying that "the public of Yeshivat Kisse Rahamim (which is headed by Rabbi Meir Mazuz, the spiritual leader of the Yahad party -ed.) identifies with Shas just like the entire Sephardi public. All their institutions are ours. We knew in advance that the whole list was submitted solely for purposes of negotiations. It's a good thing they withdrew, but it's a pity they are not with Shas."

When asked if he was angry at United Torah Judaism for reaching an agreement with Yishai, Deri refused to comment.