Report: Deal Brewing Between Chareidim, Liberman

YERUSHALAYIM -
Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, UTJ MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A compromise deal is brewing that will bridge the gap between chareidi parties and Avigdor Liberman, enabling him to “save face” and join a government led by Binyamin Netanyahu, a report Tuesday said. The deal would allow Liberman to show his voters that he had made progress in his promise to remove chareidim from points of power – without impacting on matters of religion and state.

According to Reshet Bet, the deal entails chareidi parties absenting themselves from ministries and Knesset committees that they have traditionally participated in and even controlled. Under the deal, United Torah Judaism’s MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni would give up his longstanding position as head of the Knesset Finance Committee, and Shas’s Rabbi Aryeh Deri would not seek a position as Interior Minister.

It’s not clear if the arrangement includes removing MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman as deputy health minister. In return, Liberman will agree not to make any changes to the status quo or attempt to override areas where Halachah currently is the law of the land, such as in matters of marriage and divorce, and Rabbanut-supervised kashrus.

Under the deal, Liberman could argue to his voters that he has “broken the chareidi monopoly” on political control, while the chareidi parties would be satisfied that the status quo will not further deteriorate as it most certainly would in a government run by Benny Gantz. Neither Liberman nor the chareidi parties had any comments on the report.

Earlier Tuesday, Liberman met again with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, ostensibly to discuss a unity government with Blue and White. In a joint statement, the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu said that the meeting was “a good one, and both leaders will continue in their efforts to establish a unity government.”

Liberman on Monday said that he was giving efforts to establish a unity government until noon on Wednesday, hours before Benny Gantz’s mandate to establish a government expires. If the Likud and Blue and White cannot work out a deal by then, then “everyone can do what they want,” Liberman said.