Netanyahu Makes Another Offer to Hareidim

According to television report, PM has offered hareidim new elections if they recommend that he head the next government.

Elad Benari ,

Netanyahu and Deri
Netanyahu and Deri
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose coalition appears to be on the ropes over the controversial Jewish State Law, is once again turning to the hareidim, Channel 2 News reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Netanyahu has offered hareidi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) a deal, according to which they will recommend that he form the next government, and he in turn will announce early elections.

The latest proposal does not require a public statement from the hareidi parties, but rather a personal commitment to Netanyahu that they will recommend him to head the next coalition.

This is the third time that Netanyahu has turned to the hareidi parties in recent weeks. Two weeks ago, in an attempt to replace Yesh Atid in the coalition, Netanyahu reportedly turned to UTJ and Shas, saying he was willing to turn a "blind eye" and keep at arms' length from sensitive issues like the hareidi draft, even after two years of passing that particular bill into law.

However, UTJ and Shas turned him down, and sources told Arutz Sheva that they were unwilling to "save" Netanyahu's place in the government simply because he asked them to do so.

That attempt was followed by a public appeal from Netanyahu to all the parties in the opposition to join a unity government. That request was rejected as well.

The Prime Minister and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have had several disagreements, most recently revolving the 2015 state budget and Lapid’s 0% VAT law, which Netanyahu has tried to shelve.

Tensions flared again several weeks ago amid reports that Lapid had been attempting to assemble his own coalition - possibly due to frustrations over the languishing 0% VAT law. 

The coalition is now experiencing tensions once again, this time over the Jewish State Law which passed a Cabinet vote this week but which Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni are opposed to and have threatened to vote against when it comes to a vote in the Knesset.

According to Channel 2 News, the real reason behind the postponement of the Knesset vote on the Jewish State Law is not to reach a compromise with Livni and Lapid, but was rather meant to give the hareidim a chance to consider and respond to Netanyahu’s latest proposal. Their reply is expected within the coming days, the report said.

While the hareidim haven’t formally responded to Netanyahu’s offer, Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri on Wednesday presented several conditions for his party to join the government.

In a post on Twitter, Deri said the party would demand that the minimum wage be raised to 30 shekels per hour instead of 23, and that value added tax (VAT) on basic goods be cancelled, rather than on apartments as Lapid has requested.