Shas and Otzma Yehudit Resume Coalition Voting Despite Dispute Over Laws

By Aryeh Stern

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir leads a faction meeting of the Otzma Yehudit party, June 10. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The Shas and Otzma Yehudit parties announced on Wednesday morning that despite disagreements over the Rabbis Law, they will resume voting with the coalition. This decision follows the Supreme Court’s decision to freeze elections for new Chief Rabbis, even though the current Rabbis’ term has ended.

In a statement, Shas said: “The Shas movement attempted twice to bring important protocols to improve the standing of Rabbis in Israel, who are sacrificing much during this period, and to improve the work conditions of Religious Council employees and mikveh attendants – a social process which has received broad support.”

Shas stressed, “To our utter shock, Minister [Itamar] Ben Gvir chose to bring down this law and create an unnecessary rift in the Right, during a time of war, over political considerations.”

“Shas, as usual, will show responsibility and not create a crisis at this time, which would harm the war effort and a prisoner swap deal, and will therefore vote together with the coalition. The Shas party will continue to do everything in order to preserve the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.”

Otzma Yehudit, the party headed by Ben Gvir, responded: “Otzma Yehudit insists that the Rabbis Law 2 pass only if the National Security Minister is added to the War Management Forum, and if that does not happen – we will oppose the proposal. Only last night it was proven, with the security recklessness in the North, how much Ben Gvir’s presence in the Forum is necessary. So long as that does not happen, Otzma Yehudit will continue to disrupt the coalition’s work.”

Otzma Yehudit further emphasized, “At the same time, regarding proposals from the opposition today, Otzma Yehudit will not allow the opposition to win and pass laws, and will vote against the bills proposed by the opposition.”

Additionally, Otzma Yehudit asserts that the bill will only be approved if Ben Gvir is allowed to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s closed forum for managing the war, referring to small ad hoc consultations that Netanyahu holds with the defense minister and relevant officials regarding key decisions on the war.

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