United Torah Judaism chairman MK Moshe Gafni said on Tuesday that his party would not join the “bloc for change” if it forms a coalition, and insisted it would go into the opposition with the Likud instead.
Speaking on KAN Radio, Gafni said that if the Likud Party is unable to form a government and ends up in the opposition, UTJ would join it there.
“We are not zigzagging on this issue. We go with the [religiously] traditional community which is on the right, if we need to go to the opposition we will go to the opposition,” said Gafni.
“Our leading rabbis have instructed us that should go with the traditional public which is on the right-wing, which is headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, so we will go with him and therefore I will not go with anyone else,” continued the UTJ leader.
The UTJ leader said his party was “ideological” and could not be bought by various promises and deals, and added that he would “flourish” in opposition and would be able to look out for the concerns of the ultra-Orthodox community from the opposition benches.
Gafni also said that Yamina leader MK Naftali Bennett had not asked him to join a government with Yesh Atid and its leader MK Yair Lapid, and also said that Bennett had not offered a freeze on religion and state issues in any such government.
There has been speculation that ultra-Orthodox parties UTJ and Shas might join a government of the “bloc of change” if Netanyahu is left with no path forward for forming a coalition, or even after a new coalition is formed.
Gafni’s comments essentially rule out such a scenario, leaving the bloc for change with a narrow range of options for forming a coalition, most likely a minority government supported externally by one or both of the Arab parties.
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