Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tried to convince the United Torah Judaism party to join the coalition in the place of Ra’am, Yisrael Hayom reported on Monday.
Ra’am, which announced a boycott of the Knesset weeks ago due to “the tensions at the Temple Mount” has still not indicated whether it will continue its membership in the coalition.
According to the report, sources from the Prime Minister’s Office say that ongoing discussions have been taking place with UTJ. However, UTJ vehemently denies any discussions on joining the coalition and even issued a joint statement with Shas saying that they are seeking a change of government and not a partnership with it.
“The current government does not have the nation’s trust and is without a majority in the Knesset, and repeatedly harms the Chareidi and traditional public,” the statement said. “We will continue to do everything to replace it with a nationalist government which will provide security to the residents of Israel and respectfully represent Israel’s mesorah and the weaker sectors.”
In recent weeks, Gafni had frequently spoken out against the continued leadership of the Likud by opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, saying that he harms the chances of the formation of a right-wing government. According to the report, Gafni received a green light from HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, who is opposed to another election, to sharpen the tone against Netanyahu.
The report claims that when Gafni began speaking out against Netanyahu, contacts between senior UTJ officials and Bennett’s office and the coalition began, carried out, among others, by Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Gafni denied the reports. “We’re fed up with daily denials about briefings from coalition sources and reporters on behalf of it,” Gafni said. “There is not and will not be any cooperation with this evil government whose time has passed from the world.”
“Naftali Bennett, who constantly harms us and our children, is using us, per his usual lies, to save his rule that has come to an end.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)