Deri: Coalition Condition Not Hopeless

Israeli Minister of the Interior and chairman of the Shas party, Rabbi Aryeh Deri, Sunday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Interior Minister and Shas leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri said on Sunday that the fall of the government coalition is not as near at hand as many say it is.

“I have a reasonable basis to assume the Knesset won’t dissolve this week,” Rabbi Deri told reporters after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in Yerushalayim, though he offered no specifics.

Those who saw in his remarks the implication that it won’t happen this week, but it might happen next week, were confirmed by Rabbi Deri himself later in the day, when he told Kan that “this doesn’t mean it won’t dissolve next week.”

However, he said he was hopeful that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz will reach an agreement before Tuesday night, when the Knesset will dissolve if no state budget — or an agreement to delay its passage — is approved by then.

“Elections can’t be held, this is unnecessary, the people don’t want this,” he said.

Deputy Interior Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas) spoke in the same vein, saying, “I still have hopes that good sense will prevail.

“Our party leader [Rabbi Deri] is doing everything he can to try to avert elections,” he told Arutz Sheva, “especially at this difficult time – in economic, health, and security terms. This is absolutely the wrong time to be holding elections. It’s a time that we should be using to focus on getting the country back on its feet, bolstering the economy, and assisting new communities.

“Nobody stands to gain from holding elections now, and if people can bring themselves to set aside all their petty grievances and focus on what’s important, then we might just be able to save the day and do what’s needed for the country.”

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