Sharren Haskel
Sharren HaskelHezki Baruch

MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope), chairwoman of the Knesset Education Committee, claimed on Wednesday that the haredi parties are not joining the government because they are choosing not to, and not because of the veto of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman.

"This is the government and the best solution we were able to bring, because otherwise we would have gone to fifth and sixth elections. With or without Netanyahu, we reached out to the haredi parties and invited them to negotiations," she said in an interview with the Kikar HaShabbat news website.

"If the haredi parties had responded differently, I can tell you that there would have been behind-the-scenes contacts as well. I thought it was important to negotiate with them and add them, and unfortunately they vetoed it,” added Haskel.

On Liberman’s refusal to have the haredim join the government, she said, "We have heard a lot of such statements. In the end there is a political reality in which we, New Hope, said that the haredim are welcome to sit with us and unfortunately we were refused."

"I know politics a little bit and I think once there was a kind of openness it was possible to have some kind of negotiation."

As for the ideological difficulty of the haredi parties to be in the same government with parties like Yisrael Beytenu and Yesh Atid, she said that "the haredim have sat in the past in both right-wing and left-wing governments. In the end, they have to look after the public who sent them to the Knesset, and there could have been good and healthy cooperation, and I am sad that this is not the case."

Asked whether the haredim have a place in the government even today, Haskel replied, "I believe so."