Chareidi Leaders Warn of Anti-Religious Government If Bennett Joins Lapid

Shas chairman Rabbi Aryeh Deri speaks as UTJ MKs Rabbi Yaakov Litzman and Rabbi Moshe Gafni listen, at the Knesset on Thursday. (Yonatan Sinde/Flash90)

Leaders of Shas and United Torah Judaism joined Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday in imploring Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett to break off negotiations to enter a coalition with opposition head Yair Lapid.

‏‏Shas chairman and Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri said: ”For a whole month we have done everything, even giving up on [future] government posts and making other concessions, so that we can form a right-wing government as we promised our voters. We agreed to give Bennett a senior position so that Yamina, which promised to form a right-wing government, could join.

“I say with certainty: if Naftali and ‘Yamina’ had come with us with the bloc, we would have reached 61 seats or more. All that was missing was the agreement. There was a draft agreement. Unfortunately, Naftali did not do that,” said the Shas chairman.

“We came on behalf of the chareidi public to say that we are very concerned that Avigdor Liberman, the biggest persecutor of the religious, is supposed to be the finance minister. We are concerned that Meretz and Meirav Michaeli and Yesh Atid are the majority in this government. We are very worried about what will happen to the Jewish character of the State of Israel.”

United Torah Judaism chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, said in a statement at the Knesset:

“He [Bennett] has done this to us once, he and Shaked who went with Lapid. what did you do? This is going to be an anti-Land of Israel government. You preached to me ‘the leftist,’ you preached to me morality about the land of Israel, but what will this government do? What will Horowitz do? What will Michaeli do? Will they guard the Land of Israel? This is going to be an anti-religious government.”

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