UTJ and Shas threatening to join leftist coalition over opposition to "secularist" policies
United Torah Judaism warned on Tuesday that it is open to all possible political avenues after the elections and would consider joining a coalition government of the Center-Left bloc instead of the Right.Well gee, isn't that why past Haredi politicians were willing to join a government with Golda Meir? But Livni is no Meir, just like Olmert is no Ben-Gurion, and their own policies were so atrocious that to hear them tell they're willing to join up with someone whose policies are harmful to this country and another who's been charged with corruption unmasks them as some of the most irresponsible and reprehensible people I've ever known. Clearly, they must care more about their own flaccid agendas than about Israel's security, and if they do, that is absolutely atrocious, to say nothing of an insult even to their own community.
“We’re not beholden to Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu], we’re not in his hands, and we won’t automatically go with the [political] Right bloc,” a UTJ official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“There are other options and we will consider them all,” he continued.
The source also stated that after the last elections in 2009, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the spiritual leader of haredi Jewry until his death earlier this year, authorized the UTJ politicians to join a Center-Left Kadima-led coalition with Tzipi Livni at its head.
“We would consider joining with [Labor leader Shelly] Yacimovich, or [former prime minister Ehud] Olmert if he decides to run,” the official said, adding that a female prime minister was not a concern for the haredi leadership, as has been suggested in the past.
UTJ, along with Shas, has expressed concerned over the unification deal between Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, and the possible implications of the agreement on the advancement of secularist legislation through the Knesset.So they're against serving their own country and defending it too? This is disgusting. If this is how they intend to conduct their business, then they have none inside the Knesset. The good news is that they may be facing a split from their faction:
During the last Knesset, Yisrael Beytenu was a chief proponent of mandatory national service for haredi yeshiva students from age 18, anathema to the haredi parties, and was the only party to actually bring a bill to the Knesset plenum for a vote.
Yisrael Beytenu also sponsored legislation for the establishment of civil marriage, and for the liberalization of the state conversion process, both of which were strongly opposed by UTJ and Shas.
The unity deal has therefore caused concern for UTJ, in that it may be surplus to requirements after the elections.
Additionally, the starting point for UTJ in any coalition negotiations will be an agreement to preserve as much as possible the previous arrangements for full-time yeshiva students prior to the expiration of the “Tal Law” in August, in which they were able to indefinitely postpone military service.
In addition to external political concerns, UTJ’s internal squabbles have not let up, with an argument over slots on the party’s electoral list continuing to fester.Well if UTJ - and Shas - are going to stick with these unproductive policies and set such a poor example, then let's hope so. I've concluded that they cannot be approved of if this is how they're going to go about.
Officials in a recently formed rival party, Netzach – which is faithful to prominent haredi leader Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach – continue to insist that they will run in the coming elections regardless of the damage it might do to UTJ.
Yeshayahu Wein, an editor of the new haredi daily HaPeles and a loyalist in Auerbach’s camp, confirmed on Tuesday that the party was still committed to running, and denied that negotiations for a compromise are being conducted between the two sides.
“We’re open to peace talks up till the very last minute, although its possible the last minute might already have arrived,” he told the Post.
More good news is that the Border Police have opened up a special project for Haredim to help defend the country, in places like Judea and around Jerusalem. And I think there's a good chance plenty are bound to join, which really ought to send UTJ and Shas a message that there are Haredim who understand the importance of this country's safety, including for their own community.