Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Cheshvan 5761 - Noveber 2, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shas Gives Government a Safety Net in Return for Freezing the Secular Revolution
by Eliezer Rauchberger and M. Plaut

The secular revolution of Barak was officially frozen on Monday, the first of Cheshvan, as a result of an agreement between One Israel and Shas. The latter agreed to support Prime Minister Ehud Barak's government from outside the coalition for a period of four weeks. It was also agreed that the Religious Affairs Ministry will continue to function as it has until now.

At the meeting of the heads of Shas, Eli Yishai and Rafael Pinchasi, with ministers Raanan Cohen and Yossi Beilin, it was agreed that Shas would extend a safety net to Barak for four weeks due to the political and security emergency situation in the country. Shas promised not to support no confidence proposals against the Prime Minister during this period nor to support a law to advance the elections and disperse the Knesset. However, the package included no commitment to back the budget, a critical issue in the coming weeks. It was also agreed that a representative of Shas be included in the political security forum for decision making.

It was also agreed that the Education Ministry will finally implement a recovery program for Shas's educational network, transferring some NIS 20 million to Ma'ayan Hahinuch Hatorani. This has been agreed in the past, but so far has not been implemented.

The agreement between Shas and One Israel states: "The status quo on issues of religion and state, including issues involving the drafting of yeshiva students, will be preserved." It also says: "No change in the status quo will be implemented, including changes stemming from the civil reform and structural changes which have already begun to take place. The dismantling of the Religious Affairs Ministry will be canceled."

Ehud Barak was very pleased with the security network which Shas extended him, and said that efforts to establish an emergency government (with Likud) will continue along with the safety net, with the consent of Shas. Barak already made efforts to broaden his margin by initiating talks with Meretz leader Yossi Sarid and head of Shinui Yosef Lapid. Barak said that the Shas agreement is a very important and noteworthy measure, which takes the national interests into consideration.

For the past several weeks, intensive talks have been held between Barak and Likud leader Ariel Sharon about forming a "unity" government. The talks were complicated by the fact that both Sharon and Barak had to consider the possibility of former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who left politics after his defeat in May, 1999, to the political arena.

Shas' chairman Eli Yishai said that Shas is not joining the government and has no demands from the government. Its only desire is to work toward the canceling the secular revolution which threatened Israel. Shas spokesmen said that the party still prefers that elections be held as soon as possible, since it is clear that Barak does not have a working government.

On Wednesday (3 Cheshvan) the special committee for the preparation of the law to defer the drafting of yeshiva students is scheduled to convene in order to advance the law to its second and third readings.


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