Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Israel's Religious Parties Do Well In Election; But Coalition May Choose Between Them

In Israeli elections yesterday, religious parties emerged stronger than before.  According to YNet News final tally, Shas and Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) each won 11 seats, while United Torah Judaism won 7 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. In the outgoing Knesset, Shas had 11 seats, United Torah Judaism had 5 and Habayit Hayehudi had 3. In an interview last week reported in Haaretz, Habayit Hyehudi leader Naftali Bennett suggested that his party would like to be part of a Netanyahu coalition, and would be a stable, loyal and practical partner. Bennett says his party is centrist and will not be controlled by far-right rabbis. He explained:
We're not coming along to topple a right-wing government over every little thing. As long as no decision is made to hand over territory, we have no reason to leave the government."
Haaretz says that "Netanyahu will be forced to choose whether Habayit Hayehudi or the ultra-Orthodox parties will be members of his coalition."