Source: PM to Give Haredi Parties What They Want

Prime Minister Netanyahu met with haredi parties UTJ and Shas, indicating ministry allotment that may harm religious Zionist interests.

Yaakov Levi ,

Moshe Gafni, Ya'akov Litzman
Moshe Gafni, Ya'akov Litzman
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with haredi parties United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas, both prospective members of the coalition he is building for his new government.

Netanyahu's office did not make any statement regarding the meeting, but a source in UTJ quoted in Ha'aretz said that “Netanyahu led us to believe that we will be given the Health Ministry and the chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee.”

UTJ's leading MKs, Ya'akov Litzman and Moshe Gafni, held those positions in the 18th Knesset, when UTJ was last a member of Netanyahu's government.

The chairman of the Finance Committee in the just-ended Knesset was Jewish Home MK Nissan Slomiansky. Speaking to Arutz Sheva earlier, Slomiansky said that it was crucial that Jewish Home retain that position in the next government.

Loss of this position, he said, would be “very problematic for communities in Judea and Samaria and to the institutions of religious Zionism. We need to struggle to retain this position, only thus will we be able to ensure the financial health of schools, yeshivas, and community groups."

According to the source, Netanyahu told Litzman and Gafni that he would be “very happy” if they joined his government, and that he saw UTJ as “natural partners” of the Likud.

Gafni has often lashed out at religious Zionists, calling Jewish Home the real "enemy" of the haredim for its backing of the Enlistment Law, and calling to cut funding to religious Zionist yeshivas.

Netanyahu also met with Shas head Aryeh Deri. Sources said that government ministries were not discussed at that meeting, but that the two spoke about the government's platform, and how Shas's positions would be integrated into it.

Among the proposals Deri expects the government to adopt is the zero-VAT plan for apartment sales to young couples, a plan that the government rejected last year. Deri is expected to be named Interior Minister.