UTJ Says No to Lapid

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri talking with United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman in the Knesset recently. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri talking with United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman in the Knesset recently. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A day after Shas leader Aryeh Deri said he didn’t think it would be possible to join a coalition with Yair Lapid, United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman emphatically rejected the suggestion, in view of Lapid’s “anti-chareidi agenda.”

“I am fiercely opposed to sitting with Yesh Atid in the next government,” Rabbi Litzman told The Jerusalem Post.

“A person who shed our blood, harmed us with poverty, prevented families from having chicken on Shabbos, harmed us in everything — and that’s without even mentioning [issues of] Judaism, conversion, conscription — on so many things, why should we sit with him? Are we friends?”

Prior to the decision to call early elections, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had explored the possibility of having the chareidi parties replace Yesh Atid in the government, but they refused. UTJ and Shas have not ruled out joining a new coalition with Netanyahu after the March 17 elections; nor have they ruled out joining a center-left combination led by Zionist Camp.

After refusing to sit in one coalition with chareidim after the last election, Lapid has said repeatedly in recent weeks that he would be willing to sit in a government with the chareidi parties, on condition that the law to draft yeshivah students and steep cuts to yeshivah budgets remain in place.

In response, Rabbi Litzman said: “Lapid says suddenly that he is willing to sit with everybody, including the chareidim. He should sit for a [Knesset] term in the opposition, and we’ll see if he doesn’t attack us, if he doesn’t slander us, if he doesn’t pursue an anti-chareidi agenda, and then we’ll see if he can come back.”