MK Rabbi Gafni: We Won’t Compromise to Bring Liberman Into Coalition

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MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

There will be no compromise on issues relating to religion and state, United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said Sunday. “I am saying this in the clearest and most public manner possible – there will be no compromise on the issues that are important to us. Compromises will not be done directly, indirectly, or in any other way.”

MK Rabbi Gafni was responding to reports Sunday morning that MKs in the Likud and Yemina – now officially split into two separate factions of the New Right and National Union – were urging the chareidi parties to compromise on several issues in order to pave the way for Avigdor Liberman to join a government led by Binyamin Netanyahu.

Kan News said that Liberman had made it known that he would be willing to make a deal, if the chareidi parties compromised on several issues, such as the draft law and local laws regarding Shabbos and kashrus.

Kan News quoted a senior member of the right-wing bloc as saying that “only Liberman can save Israel from a third round of elections.”

In an interview Sunday, New Right MK Ayelet Shaked told Army Radio that the chareidim would have to compromise on at least some issues in order to encourage Liberman to join the coalition. “There are only two possibilities – either Netanyahu and Benny Gantz form a unity government, with the only issue that they need to decide is who will act as prime minister first, or that Liberman joins the right-wing bloc. For that to happen the chareidim will have to compromise,” she said.

Nothing doing, said MK Rabbi Gafni. The problem was not with the chareidi parties – it was with Liberman. “He does not want a government with chareidim, so there is nothing to compromise on,” as whatever concessions UTJ and Shas make will just whet Liberman’s appetite for more, and will not result in a stable deal for either the government or the chareidi public.

MK Rabbi Yitzchak Vaknin of Shas confirmed MK Rabbi Gafni’s position. “We have gone as far as we can go on issues like the draft law, and it wasn’t enough. Liberman is truly a riddle,” he said. “I think that we could have formed a government in the April elections, but unless everyone backs down now, we will have a third election.”