The United Torah Judaism party on Sunday launched its election campaign and attacked Benny Gantz’s and Yair Lapid’s Blue and White party, specifically Yair Lapid, announcing that it would never join a government in which Yair Lapid would serve as minister.
At the opening ceremony at the UTJ election headquarters in Bnei Brak, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman took a belligerent tone against the new party: “We will not join any government of which Lapid would be part, plain and simple.”
Litzman, who heads the Chassidic faction of the party, also said, “I do not understand why Gantz connected with a man who failed in the Finance Ministry.”
“We will raise the issues of the IDF draft and Shabbat, but also the social issues,” Litzman said, then ridiculed “the man who preaches to us to study core curriculum subjects and didn’t finish high school.”
“The man who is impoverishing us,” Lizman reiterated. “Two years he was finance minister, he took our money, did not put anything in the public health system.”
Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni, who heads the Lithuanian wing of UTJ, also announced that he would not sit with Lapid in any coalition government.
“We are going with Bibi Netanyahu,” Gafni said, adding, “I suggest they stop asking us these questions.”
“What if there’s an indictment?” Gafni asked, and answered, “There’s law in this country and we will act according to the law.”
Regardless, he added, “We are not going to a coalition with Lapid. “We said it and we don’t have to say it again.”
Gafni also referred to Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman, if only to make it clear there would be no reference to him during the election campaign.
“We will not relate to Liberman on religious matters, he has nothing worth talking about,” Gafni said. “He is desperate to receive more Knesset seats and therefore speaks ill of yeshiva students. There will be no reference in the election campaign to Liberman.”
Gafni also attacked the recently elected mayor of Tiberias Ron Kobi, who has taken several steps to open up the city on Shabbat, including providing public transportation.
“The mayor of Tiberias was elected because of some random glitch – this will not repeat itself,” Gafni declared. “Public transportation on the Sabbath is illegal,” he said. “Soon you won’t be able to tell that we are in a Jewish state. The damage this will cause the Israeli public is indescribable and we will fight it.”