Israel Hayom political correspondent Mati Tuchfeld reported on the feverish consultations and behind - the - scenes contacts in the Prime Minister's' Office between senior members of the coalition and senior members of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party to replace the Ra'am party with the Ashkenazi haredi party in the coalition.
A source in the Prime Minister's Office said recently that "the replacement process is being pursued with full force." United Torah Judaism denied the report and even issued a joint statement with Shas clarifying that they are looking for a change of government and not a partnership with the current government.
UTJ chairman MK Moshe Gafni has in recent weeks frequently attacked opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and even called on the Likud to replace him in order to establish a right-wing government. It is now known that Gafni received the go-ahead from Rabbi Edelstein, the leader of the Lithuanian haredi community to criticize Netanyahu.
At that time, contacts began between senior members of the Ashkenazi haredi party and members of the coalition and Bennett's office. This is with the intention of examining collaborations between the government and UTJ. These contacts were conducted, among others, by Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz,and Minister Ayelet Shaked.
In recent days, ahead of the return of the Knesset from its recess, there have been more intense discussions about the continuation of the coalition in the absence of a majority in the Knesset, during which the possibility was raised of replacing Ra'am with United Torah Judaism, which would restore the coalition's majority and remove the primary source of criticism of the current government, its reliance on the Islamist Ra'am party.
The assessment in the Yamina party is that if Ra'am leaves the coalition and United Torah Judaism joins in its stead, MK Idit Silman, who resigned from the coalition ahead of Pesach, will return to the coalition and other coalition members who have recently expressed discomfort from sitting with Ra'am in light of security events will be more willing to remain in the coalition.