Chareidi political leaders, Aryeh Deri, Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Litzman railed against Yamina leader Naftali Bennett’s intention to form a unity government with left-wing parties led by Yair Lapid in the Knesset on Thursday. The Chareidi faction leaders went so far as openly state that such a government would be “anti-religious” and anti-state.
”For a whole month, we have done everything, even giving up our honor, so that we can form a right-wing government as we promised our voters,” said Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. “We were not looking for positions. We did not ask for ministerial roles. We agreed to give Bennett the go-ahead so that Yamina, which promised to form a right-wing government, could join.”
“I say with certainty: if Naftali and ‘Yamina’ had come with us with the bloc, we would have reached 61 seats or more. All that was missing was the agreement. There was a draft agreement. Unfortunately, Naftali did not do that,” Deri said.
“We came on behalf of the Charedi public to say that we are very concerned that Avigdor Liberman, the biggest persecutor of the religious, is supposed to be the finance minister. We are concerned that Meretz and Labor and Yesh Atid will form the majority in this government. We are very worried about what will happen to the Jewish character of the State of Israel.”
“We are anxious about what will happen to the world of Torah, to the settlements. I turn to you Naftali, we have reached an almost signed agreement. There are 28 days, it will not lead to an election, a right-wing government will be established – once they knew there was no option for a left-wing government. I know there’s blood in the middle but you know we’re not on different sides. Do not break the connection between the Charedim and what you represent,” the Shas chairman pleaded.
United Torah Judaism chairman MK Moshe Gafni, went even further in his statement and said: “The Charedi public knows how to win and not be haughty. We know how to lose and not give up. We do not tolerate other people thinking that we are stupid. Bennett is negotiating with Lapid to form a government that is a hateful government, an anti-religious government. He and Shaked come and say they have turned over stone upon stone to form a right-wing government. Why are you lying to us?”
Gafni sharply attacked Bennett: “He has done this to us once before. He and Shaked went with Lapid before and what happened? This is going to be an ‘anti-land of Israel government’. You preached to me ‘the leftist,’ you preached to me morality about the land of Israel, but what will this government do? What will Horowitz do? What will Michaeli do? Will they guard the Land of Israel? This is going to be an anti-religious government.”
“Am I supposed to trust Bennett to protect the land of Israel or religion? We know the truth. I agree with Mr. Deri’s interpretation. Don’t believe when they say about me that I’m the leftist of the Charedi parties. For 33 years I have sided only with the right-wing. The hatred between Bibi and Bennett appears to be more important than the Land of Israel and the Holy Torah.”