Shas is willing to support evacuation of "settlements" and back mideast "peace talks"
A statement by a senior Shas minister on Sunday indicates that Israel's ultra-Orthodox parties are moving closer to joining the opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s possible coalition, in light of the crisis in ties with the nationalist Habayit Hayehudi party.Boy, that sure is some way to solve their problems, taking them out on people in the public who have nothing to do with the coalition discussions. They've revealed themselves as not being men of the Torah, because if they were, they'd do everything they could to defend the land of Israel from being handed over to enemies, and they'd serve in the army to defend it too. This is a very poor example even their spokespersons are setting, and in the end, all they've done is make themselves look very selfish, and I don't buy for even a second that they really honor the Torah. This is exactly why they don't deserve to be in the coalition, and this article also signals they may be going the opposite direction:
“We are going to walk all over the settlements, we’re not afraid. We’ll vote to evacuate outposts, we’ll vote to freeze construction, we’ll support diplomatic initiatives, we’ll vote to cut funding to the settlements,” the senior Shas official told Haaretz. [...]
While moving closer to Labor, Shas is speaking out more sharply against Habayit Hayehudi and the settlement movement. The battle between the parties is not only for political power. Rather, since the election it has become ideological, after Shas spiritual leader called Habayit Hayehudi – whose name means “the Jewish home,” – “home of goyim,” that is, non-Jews. There are ideological questions on the table now, like who the authentic representative of the “world of Torah” is, the question of which yeshiva students should be considered full-time students, and others.
The ultra-Orthodox have for a generation acted like the natural partners of the right; Shas chairman Yishai has turned the party into a right-wing party. But they are taking leftist stands. “When Yair Lapid asks where the money is” – a senior Shas figure said, referring to one of Yesh Atid’s campaign slogans – “we’ll tell him it’s in the settlements. From our point of view this is an unnecessary expense.” His remarks came at the same time MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism was threatening that “the rift cannot be healed” between the ultra-Orthodox and the nationalist Orthodox. Another figure in Shas said that the current rift “releases us from all our obligations to Habayit Hayehudi.”
The harsh tone the ultra-Orthodox are taking toward Habayit Hayehudi became even more strident following a letter of support for Bennett’s political maneuvers from the rabbis of the Tekumah faction of the Orthodox nationalist former National Union party. In recent weeks Shas had been trying to drive a wedge between Bennett and these conservative rabbis, including the militant Rabbi Dov Lior of the settlement of Kiryat Arba. However, the letter of unqualified support for the Habayit Hayehudi chairman shows that its efforts have failed.
Shas is headed to the opposition: Sources in the Ultra-Orthodox party told Ynet Sunday that unless a "dramatic breakthrough" takes place in the next few days, Shas will not be a part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's new government.And Shas has nothing good for us. Basing their loyalties on whether they're in the government or not, and even then, it's not guaranteed they'll show they love Israel. Caring more about Torah study than about defending the country against Iran's nuclear threats? If that's the case, Netanyahu should consider how much better off he'd be without them.
Chances of such a breakthrough are slim, a party source said. If Shas is indeed excluded from the coalition, it would be only the second time in 30 years.
Another party source criticized the prime minister, saying that the latest round of negotiations between the Likud and Shas teams was "A waste of our time."
"It's a done deal. Shas will be in the opposition," a senior source privy to the religious party's negotiations, told Ynet. "Today's meeting didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Netanyahu had nothing new for us."
Update: this Jerusalem Post article says that the Haredi parties won't go overboard:
Shas also rejected a suggestion the prime minister made earlier in negotiations, that the party join the government at a later stage, after the government was already formed. The party pointed out that they would not want to join a coalition after Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi passed a haredi enlistment law, housing reform or budget cuts, which Shas and UTJ believe hurt haredi interests.Well, if this is correct, and the Haaretz article was only a distortion, as can be expected of them in many cases since they're ultra-leftist, then I'll take back any of my offenses at the impression they would be willing to go that far. Even so, their vehement opposition to sharing public burdens is unacceptable, and they're going to have to start changing that and coming to terms with how their biases are only harming their reputation with the wider public.
The same source also threatened that the haredi public and political leadership “would long remember the behavior of the national-religious party after these elections.”
“When the haredim are once again in government and the national-religious are not, they will see our response to what they have done," the official warned. He added that they would not cynically support anti-settlement activity, such as evacuations or construction freezes, as revenge, referring to the generally right wing attitude of the haredi public on such matters.