Following the general elections, party leaders are abuzz with meetings and discussing backroom deals as they are about to embark on coalition talks with representatives of the Likud/Beitenu list. While President Shimon Peres must meet with the party representatives and assign the presidential mandate to attempt to form a coalition, it is all but certain that the mandate will be given to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Shortly after the election results were known, Shas’ Eli Yishai praised the victory and exclaimed “There will be no coalition without Shas”. While Yishai’s statement is a noble gesture, such a scenario is highly unlikely based on current realities.
The major players; Yesh Atid and Bayit HaYehudi have already stated the ‘share the burden’ issue is a deal-breaker for them, and unless Mr. Netanyahu commits to drafting chareidim into the IDF or a national service, they will not enter a coalition.
Nevertheless, there are the optimists who feel that while for Lapid there is no hope of negotiating this precious value, Bayit HaYehudi might be persuaded to enter such an agreement, and that would lay the groundwork for a right-wing chareidi coalition. Likud (31), Bayit HaYehudi (11), Shas (11), Yahadut Hatorah (7), totally exactly 60, which is almost but not quite a majority. Therefore, a coalition that flies the flag of the Bnei Torah tzibur remaining in yeshivos is appearing unlikely, even bleak according to many. Therefore the challenge facing the chareidi tzibur will prove a formidable one even for the most seasoned chareidi politician, including Yahadut Hatorah veteran MKs Gafne, Litzman, Moses, Maklev and Eichler.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)