Reiterating the position of United Torah Judaism, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said Sunday that UTJ would not join a government led by Benny Gantz – even if he does away with the rotation agreement for prime minister with Yair Lapid. “We will not sit with Gantz if Lapid will be in the government, and that includes if the rotation agreement is cancelled,” Rabbi Litzman told Army Radio.
“We will not for one minute join a government with Lapid,” said Rabbi Litzman, speaking of the Yesh Atid leader who formed the Blue and White party with Gantz, and who is seen as anti-religious, and remembered for his efforts to forcibly draft yeshivah students, as well as many other laws against the religious public and character of the state. “It’s clear that our first recommendation will be for Binyamin Netanyahu as prime minister” when asked by President Reuven Rivlin, Rabbi Litzman said.
In recent days, Gantz has been reaching out to chareidi parties in an effort to develop a coalition, on the assumption that, as the polls show, Blue and White will be the biggest vote-getter and that he will be chosen by Rivlin to form the coalition. “We see what is happening in the polls, and it is clear we will be the biggest party,” he told interviewers on Channel 12. “I already have a coalition with three parties, and I am talking with others. The public will have its say and we will be the biggest party, and we will set up a coalition. When that happens all the smaller parties will realize that the Netanyahu era is over. Netanyahu will no longer be the story of the elections, and they will all come to us.”
Shas has also said several times that it will not sit in a coalition with Lapid. Shas chairman and Interior Ministers Rabbi Aryeh Deri again said last week that “we continue to support with all our strength Prime Minister Netanyahu, but not Benny Gantz. We will form a bloc and form a coalition only with Netanyahu, and we will stand by him in a strong coalition.”