MKs Moshe Gafne spoke with Kol Berama Radio on Tuesday 27 Shevat 5774. Gafne spoke following a meeting with President Shimon Peres, explaining many issues were addressed including the economy, the chareidi community and more.
When asked if he is looking for a way into the coalition, Gafne stated unequivocally “no, I am not looking for a way in but I am seeking solution to the problems that face us,” continuing to speak of the planned draft and the economic hardships of the community”. Gafne explained one does not have to be in the coalition, stressing the party has not in the past and will not in the future enter the coalition at any price.
Gafne highlights that the “hate towards chareidim” exhibited by the current coalition is unprecedented and therefore he does not envision entering such a government, adding he does not believe that the current coalition will last, explaining to the best of his recollection this is the first coalition ever assembled that has no focus, with each party pulling a in a different direction.
Asked about working with Shas, Gafne does not envision a deal by which Yahadut Hatorah will enter into the coalition with Shas. Gafne does not believe in making declarations that the party will never enter the coalition under any circumstances, pointing out he only did so once in his career and learned from this. He stated “there is no bill of divorce” but rather the party must always evaluated the current situation, weigh what may be gained by entering a coalition and then decide but it would not be wise to release a blanket statement that he will never enter a government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu. He points out that sitting with Avigdor Lieberman or Yesh Atid is less of an option so in reality, the realization is that Netanyahu is in charge and there are no other viable alternatives today or in the foreseeable future.
Gafne feels that time is not being wasted in opposition and there is a list of accomplishments even when not serving in the coalition.
He feels one must remain pragmatic and regarding the issue of drafting bnei yeshivos, if he was to cut off relations with parties supporting the initiative there would be no one to work with. “Can we say we will never sit in a coalition with Bayit Yehudi because it supports the draft, of course not. This is not realistic”. He feels however he cannot make general statements but rather he must decide where the party’s agenda can best be addressed.
Most of Knesset does not support the hashkafa of Yeshiva Mir, Ponevezh, Kedushei HaRim or others and I must serve in Knesset promoting these very hashkafos with the realization that we have to find a workable relationship that will lead to more Torah, limud Torah and Yiddishkheit for Am Yisrael.”
“I miss the days when there were politicians like Shimon Peres, who offered an attentive ear for matters pertaining to yeshivos and maintaining the religious status quo in the country but today, there is a new generation that does not share those same values.”
“I suggest to all of us not to live by slogans but rather by actions. There is no bill of divorce [with the prime minister and coalition] and nothing is final. We must evaluate where our interests can best be served”
Regarding talks with the PA (Palestinian Authority), Gafne said “out hashkafa is that of continue the diplomatic process for it prevents bloodshed” however each agreement must be evaluated on its own merit. “I am not speaking about peace for there will never be true peace but the matter is how to best avoid the spilling of blood”.
Gafne was unwilling to reveal details of his meeting with the president but confirmed many important issues were addressed.
The information represents excerpts from a 26½ minute radio interview.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)