What a shocker – former Shas leader MK Eli Yishai is not cooperating with his replacement, Aryeh Deri. According to Deri in statements made to the press, Yishai, who was ousted by Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita to clear the path for Deri’s return, Yishai is not towing the party line but he is operating independently, a one man party.
“He still hasn’t made peace with the change, a difficult change. We understand him” adds Deri.
In a media interview with Mazel Muallem, Deri blames Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the anti-chareidi atmosphere in Israel. He feels the prime minister is responsible for the hostile atmosphere against mosdos torah, the harsh gezeiros and the budget cuts.
Deri explains that there “was a certain leadership for 13 years during my absence followed by the trio leadership before the election. That was necessary for that time but it was not too successful. Now things are moving ahead”. He speaks of significant change in the party for the better since re-assuming the helm.
He explains that slowly the party faction members who never had a taste of the opposition are adapting to the new reality. “We are a fierce opposition with the exception of Eli Yishai, who acts on his own.”
Asked about entering the coalition, Deri feels the only possibility is sitting in a coalition with Likud and Labor. He does not feel that the prime minister will renounce his partnership with Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi so it is all academic. Joining a coalition would also demand a coalition with a vastly different vision for the economy and government spending and Deri does not believe that Mr. Netanyahu is interested.
He admits this is a most difficult period and as a result of being in opposition, many government budgets have been lost.
Deri feels that Yair Lapid’s biggest accomplishment is without a doubt his success in locking the chareidim out of the coalition. He adds that Lapid will not speak with him, crediting him with accomplishing his goal “with good planning and a smile”.
“He presents himself as if he is concerned with the chareidi tzibur but in actuality he is not.”
Regarding the renewed talks between Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority), Deri does not believe that the prime minister really thinks a final status agreement is going to be achieved in these talks. Deri believes an interim agreement must be reached and adhered to, and then the sides can move ahead to the final status stage. He stresses we must be certain that relinquishing control of land is met with a sound long term guarantee of peace and an end to all hostility. He is pessimistic regarding the current coalition achieving a final status of interim agreement.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)