Netanyahu, Litzman Meet to Sign Coalition Deal

Clauses of agreement being perused ahead of final signing between Likud and UTJ heads, as coalition continues to come together.

Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar ,

Binyamin Netanyahu and Ya'akov Litzman
Binyamin Netanyahu and Ya'akov Litzman
Abir Sultan/Flash 90

Following the coalition agreement draft formed Tuesday between Likud and United Torah Judaism (UTJ), Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and UTJ chairman MK Ya'akov Litzman met on Wednesday to finalize the deal.

The two are to go over the various clauses of the agreement and close up with a final signature on it, after representatives of Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party signed a coalition agreement with Likud on Tuesday night.

UTJ is comprised of two factions, Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael.

Degel Hatorah MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev met yesterday with Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, a leader of the Lithuanian haredi community, and receive his blessings on the agreement.

Likewise the Agudat Yisrael rabbis gave their blessings to their leading MKs Litzman and Meir Porush to sign the deal.

Among the agreements that UTJ was able to achieve in the talks is a cancellation of the cut in budgets for yeshiva Torah academies which the outgoing coalition government implemented, as well as a freeze on the controversial conversion law.

UTJ also demanded a return of the reform to subsidize dental care, which was initiated by Litzman when he served as deputy health minister and which was cancelled by the outgoing government. It likewise requested an increase in child benefit stipends.

As for the controversial enlistment law compelling haredim to enlist into the IDF or face criminal sanctions, the topic is anticipated to remain purposely vague so as not to allow the Supreme Court to get involved and torpedo significant changes expected to be made to it.

Regarding the Supreme Court, one clause in the UTJ and Likud deal specifically will obligate the coalition to pass a Basic Law amendment only letting the court cancel a law with a majority of eight out of 15 judges, thereby limiting Supreme Court activism.

Perhaps more importantly, the Basic Law amendment would make it so that if a law is struck down by the Supreme Court and then re-approved by a majority of 61 MKs, the Supreme Court will not be able to strike it down again until two years after the end of the term of the reigning government. If the new government ratifies it again, the Supreme Court will never be able to cancel it.