Members of Yahadut Hatorah met in the Degel Hatorah office in Bnei Brak on Tuesday night for some two hours, seeking to iron out their combined list of demands as coalition talks to form a Likud-led coalition government continue. The faction leaders, Moshe Gafne of Degel Hatorah and Yaakov Litzman of Agudas Yisrael presented the situation to secretaries of both Torah Councils of the factions as well, with a focus on the Likud’s position vis-à-vis a new draft law which remains at the crux of the chareidi party’s demands.
It appears the sides are deadlocked over the matter of criminal sanctions for non-compliance with the new draft law, as the chareidim are insisting they will not accept such a stipulation. The chareidim are also demanding setting induction goals, and they remain opposed to the position of MK Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party. Lieberman continues releasing statements to the media that his party will not enter a coalition if the current version of the draft law is changed in any way to accommodate the chareidi parties; i.e. Yahadut Hatorah and Shas. In fact, he has halted negotiations between his party and the Likud for the time being, signaling a willingness to remain in opposition over the dispute surrounding the draft law.
Litzman and Gafne, explained to the participants that Lieberman is toughening his position on the issue of enlistment, and in recent days he has toughened his position even more because of the chareidi stance on Chilul Shabbos surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest. The MKs revealed that the Likud even had a proposal to form a narrow government without Yisrael Beiteinu.
The secretaries of the Torah Councils are expected to convene and finalize the updated proposal from the Likud, which they will submit to the Gedolei Torah, the members of the Councils, to discuss and approve the final formula of both the draft law and matters pertaining to the Shabbos status quo.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)