The outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, warned, on Monday, that religious hardliners will not only sit in the next government, but will actually rule it.
Lapid relied on a series of statements made by leaders of religious and nationalist right-wing parties regarding draft laws that the next government intends to adopt.
To form his government, Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, 73, is negotiating with religious right-wing parties such as Shas and United Torah Judaism, and right-wing nationalists such as Religious Zionism and Jewish Power.
He cannot form a government without obtaining the support of these parties to reach the 61 votes (out of 120) required to obtain the confidence of the Knesset (parliament).
- Advertisement -
The demands of the religious and nationalist right-wing parties vary between segregation of males and females in public events, banning football matches during the Sabbath holiday, overriding the decisions of the Supreme Court (the highest judicial body), and maintaining the exclusion of religious Jews from military service.
“The new government has not yet been formed, but it already has decisions: Yeshiva students will get more money than IDF soldiers,” Lapid said in a series of tweets on his Twitter account.
He continued, “(Leader of the ‘Religious Zionism’ Bezalel) Smotrich wants to ban football matches on Saturday, a law will be passed to separate men and women in public places.”
And Lapid, who will become opposition leader after Netanyahu forms the government, added: “Israel is a Jewish state, not a Sharia state.”
Referring to Netanyahu’s (right-liberal) Likud party, Lapid said: “I want to ask Likud voters: Is this what you wanted? Is this why you voted for Likud? To take money from soldiers and give it to yeshiva students? You will be a minority in this government.”
He added, “It will not be a government in which religious extremists sit. Rather, it will be a government ruled by religious extremists. Full control.”
He warned that they would “lead us to become a third world country…at odds with the Americans, at odds with ourselves.”
On November 13, Israeli President Isaac Herzog assigned Netanyahu to form a government within 28 days, which can be extended for an additional 14 days with the approval of the president.
Netanyahu is the longest serving Israeli prime minister, as he served as prime minister between 1996 and 1999, and then for 12 consecutive years between 2009 and 2021.