Exclusive Arutz7: Inside Story on the Lapid-Bennett Pact

Here’s what lead to the ‘historic alliance’ between Bayit Yehudi & Yesh Atid that surprised everyone.

By Uzi Baruch

 

Senior figures in the religious Zionist Bayit Yehudi party are fiercely defending the party from criticism of its agreement with the secularist Yesh Atid, that neither party will enter the coalition without the other. The gentlemen’s understanding appears set to go down in history as the surprise political move that shaped Binyamin Netanyahu’s third government.

The senior figures provided Arutz Sheva with a play-by-play account of the events leading up to the “pact.”

“During the election campaign, in the course of the last months and weeks, we received ill winds from the Likud, which said that there is no intention to include us in the government. We were expressly told this, from within Netanyahu’s bureau,” the senior figures said.

“In our distress, we turned to one of the heads of Shas, Aryeh Deri. This plea was made five weeks before the elections, and after the elections as well. We begged for full cooperation but Deri refused to meet with us. There were countless telephone calls, direct and indirect. Deri told us that he had checked with the Prime Minister’s Bureau and he was told, there, that that there is no intention of adding Bayit Yehudi to the coalition. ‘Bayit Yehudi’s place will be in the Opposition,’ Deri was told outright by Netanyahu’s bureau.”

According to the senior Bayit Yehudi figures, Deri and his men told Bayit Yehudi – “Since we were told specifically that Netanyahu has no intention of adding you to the coalition, we have no desire to create a religious bloc with you. What do I gain by an alliance with Bayit Yehudi? That is not my war to fight,” Deri said.

Two days after the elections, Netanyahu told Deri again that Bayit Yehudi will not be in the government, the senior figures said. “Deri told us, ‘I cannot solve your distress vis-à-vis the prime minister,’ and since then he did not get back to us. Deri basically threw us under a bus. So we had to turn to Yair Lapid. Once the hareidim heard that a ‘pact’ was formed with Lapid, they asked to meet us. Now they are creating the false picture that we abandoned them. We regret the lies and half-truths that they have been spreading in the last few days. This is the true story.”

The senior figures deny vehemently that the understandings with Lapid will hurt the Torah world. “There will be no damage to the Torah world. We will not let military police drag yeshiva students from their ‘stenders’ [the stands, usually wooden, that hold the holy books open in study halls]. We will make sure of that. The Torah world is an eternal and sacred value for us, too.”

Aryeh Deri’s bureau said in response: “It appears that the Mafdal politicians are dealing with an unquiet conscience in the last few days, and that, as a desperate defensive step, they are spreading lies. Since the elections, Bennett has not contacted Deri even once, and the only meeting between them was initiated by Deri, and the idea of a [religious] bloc was not even discussed.”

 

View original Arutz Sheva publication at: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/165853#.UTTc8ldVabw

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