Amid predictions that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government will quickly dissolve if opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu signs a plea deal and leaves politics, a report on Thursday morning said that Bennett recently expressed his regrets that the Chareidi parties are not part of his government.
According to a Reshet Bet report on Thursday morning, Bennett made the comment to UTJ MK Meir Porush during a closed meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee when Porush asked him to address the issue of the giyur reform that Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana is advancing.
Despite the fact that the issue wasn’t related to Bennett’s security briefing on Iran, Porush’s question led to the two engaging in a conversation – the first dialogue between Bennett and a Chareidi MK since the government was established.
“The fact that you’re not in the government is a disadvantage,” Bennett admitted.
When Porush asked him: “Why are you allowing the children of non-Jews to convert?” Bennett responded: “We won’t agree to everything but we have no intention of fighting against the Chareidim. Giyurim aren’t your inyan either, we’re doing the right thing. Even if seems to you that it’s against you, you should know that it’s not like that.”
Bennett’s coalition partner, Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen (Yesh Atid) explained afterward in an interview that she also is in favor of integrating the Chareidim into the government. “I’m in favor of a broad unity government, including with the Chareidim,” she said. “Am Yisrael wants its varying sectors to live together and compromise. There are also excellent people in the Likud and we can find a common denominator. The situation that developed [pitting us against] the Likud is not based on ideology.”
However, despite the rhetoric, the chances of the Chareidim joining the current government are basically nil. The Chareidi MKs have vowed not to join a government with left-wing parties. Additionally, in response to reports about the Chareidi parties possibly joining the government, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Reshet Bet on Thursday morning that he will oppose such a move.
“At the moment, we’ll oppose any attempt to include Shas and UT, definitely with the current coalition,” Lieberman said. “First, I want to pass the compromises we agreed on regarding giyur, the recruitment of bnei yeshivos, and the lowering of the exemption age -these are part of the coalition agreements.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)