Shas: don't let them take advantage of us this time
The religious Israeli political party, Shas, and their mentor, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, were partly responsible for leading us to the Oslo accords which were foisted upon Israel in 1993, because Shas was willing to join the Labor-led government of the time with almost no qualms.
It's said that Yitz'hak Rabin told Rabbi Yosef before anyone else, outside the inner circle of Peres, Beilin, and their operatives, knew about his intention to recognize the PLO. And if Yosef was keeping this secret, that was very disloyal to the people, including his own following, which was also badly hurt by the Arab-Islamic terrorism.
Rabbi Yosef has also taken the meaning of Pikuah Nefesh out of context - the true meaning is that Torah laws can be violated in order to save life, such as driving a sick person to hospital on Shabbat, yet Rabbi Yosef totally warped - and politicized - it as appeasement of enemies of the country, endangering life instead of saving life.
Shas also went in - initially anyway - with Ehud Barak's coalition, and I shouldn't have to point out that if Shas is going to continue like this and take advantage, that's exactly why they cannot be ignored, and it will be bad if they go in with the coalition. Worst of all, what if they're willing to support whatever Ehud Olmert does provided that he bribe them, as Menachem in Israel is wondering?
So what's my recommendation? I would recommend organizing a rally in the Har Nof area, where Rabbi Yosef lives, to protest any intentions they may have of joining a coalition with Ehud Olmert. Let's be clear, any actions Shas may take in the way of joining a coalition with Olmert cannot be taken lightly.
That's why concerned people in Israel must start taking responsibility, and making their voices heard. If you don't want Shas or the United Torah Judaism party joining a government with Kadima, then you're going to have to go the protest route to try and dissuade them from any such intentions.
Matot Arim is probably the best place to turn to in order to work on a way to deal with this. Here's Susie Dym's e-mail: sddym@Bezeqint.net