Top rabbis in the Ashkenazi yeshiva world, sponsors of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party, sent a message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday, stressing that if expected his coalition to survive, he would do well to honor his commitments.
To drive the point home, UTJ MK Moshe Gafni, as the rabbis met, attended a meeting with Zionist Union head Yitzhak Herzog.
While the two ostensibly discussed an appointment Gafni is seeking to the state committee that chooses candidates for the rabbinical courts, sources said that the two discussed other matters as well.
UTJ is angry with Netanyahu over the latter's agreement to cut child support payments, as Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) is seeking, after Netanyahu promised them that they would be raised.
Netanyahu had promised to raise the child allowance payments retroactively to the time the government was formed upon approval of the state budget – but he has backtracked from that commitment as well, UTJ sources said.
The possibility that UTJ would break with the coalition over the matter is seen as a remote one, but sources in the party said that nothing could be ruled out – especially after Herzog very clearly ruled out the idea of his own party joining the government Sunday.
Despite his having said last week that his party would support Netanyahu on the Iran issue, regardless of politics, Herzog told party members Sunday that there was no way the party would join the government.
“If someone wasn't paying attention the last time I said this, or has been listening to the analysts who jump on 'signs' but are wrong again and again, or for those who don't want to hear, I will say it again,” Herzog told party loyalists.
“This failed government is responsible for the high cost of living, the high cost of housing, the gas development fiasco, the horrible abuse of workers, the terrible differences between Israel and its greatest ally, the U.S., for the cessation of the diplomatic process, for damaging the media, the justice system, and the democratic foundations of this country. We are not joining this government – it should be replaced immediately,” he said.