Photo Credit: FLASH90
Haredi MKs listening to then IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz in a debate on IDF service, Nov. 27, 2013.

Sources in United Torah Judaism said in a secret meeting that if Benjamin Netanyahu fails to cobble the next coalition government, they would not rule out joining a Benny Gantz government, on the condition that he revoke the rotation agreement he signed with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, Maariv reported Tuesday. Since his stint as Finance Minister in Netanyahu’s previous government, Lapid has been marked as the enemy of the Haredi public, which sees him as responsible for taking away many welfare programs designed for Haredi families with multiple children—among many anti-Haredi cuts.

“We have no problem with Gantz in the first place, our problem is with Lapid,” a source inside UTJ told Maariv, noting that “if Gantz announces the cancellation of the rotation agreement with Lapid, there is a possibility of entering a government headed by him – provided, of course, that they accept the policies that are important to us.”

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The Blue & White rotation agreement gives Gantz the PM’s post for the first two and a half years, after which he would be replaced by Lapid.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi – National Union – Jewish Power) responded to the report on Tuesday, saying, “This morning’s news is very disturbing and I expect the Haredi parties to renounce it and declare that they will not sit under any circumstances in a Gantz government.”

Smotrich added: “Gantz is a leftist and whomever sits in his government cannot define themselves as right-wing – not in the preservation of the Land of Israel and the settlement enterprise, nor regarding the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. We will not sit in Gantz’s government in any manner. Period.”

Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman denied the report, saying: “Today I read that UTJ with me at its helm would agree to sit with Gantz should there be no rotation with Lapid. None of this is true. […] I seek those who view me with kindness. I am not an enemy of the people of Israel. He who humiliated and shamed me is not my friend and I will not sit with him. I support Netanyahu unequivocally, and may he be found innocent.”

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