“Anyone who claims that the ultra-Orthodox can be added to this government is deluding himself and others,” Yisrael Beitenu chair Avigdor Liberman said.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Despite statements from prime minister designate and Yemina head Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chair Yair Lapid about inviting haredi parties to join the ‘change’ coalition, one party leader in the bloc says the the idea is ludicrous.
“It is not possible for the haredi parties to join the government. Anyone who claims that the haredim can be added to this government is deluding himself and others,” Yisrael Beitenu chair Avigdor Liberman reportedly said at a faction meeting.
The right-wing nationalist party promotes a staunchly secular platform, which includes civil marriage, public transportation on Shabbat, and mandatory conscription to the IDF for haredi men..
Liberman has spoken publicly about his disdain for haredi politicians, declaring in the run-up to the 2021 elections that the ultra-Orthodox parties should be “taken to the landfill in a wheelbarrow.”
During an interview at a political conference on Sunday, Liberman elaborated on why Yisrael Beitenu would be unwilling to sit in a coalition with religious parties.
“They got used to blackmailing,” he said. “For many years we have been trying to reach understandings. I do not think there is anyone in politics who has spent more hours [negotiating] with them than me.
“I am not against them, [rather] I am in favor of the largest deprived and oppressed group – the seculars who serve in the IDF and pay taxes. There can be no whole group that is not willing to serve and work, and enjoys privileges that no one else has. We will not sit with [the haredi parties], there is no such fantasy.”
People who want to study Torah should do so “at their own expense,” not on the state’s dime, he added.
Liberman also touched on the so-called Nation State Law, which officially declared Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
He said that passing the law had been a mistake, as it “caused an internal quarrel and more rifts, and harmed our great allies, the Druze.”
Dismissing charges that he was flip-flopping on the issue, as he and his party supported the law at the time, Liberman said, “It is okay to say we were wrong.”