Over the course of the weekend, Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu, presented the conditions for his party joining any possible future government.
As you may remember, yisrael Beiteinu’s demands were centered around issues of religion and state and included: a revised draft law, cancelling the Supermarket Law, public transportation on Shabbat, civil marriage, bringing a core curriculum into Ultra-Orthodox Schools, allowing City Rabbis to perform conversions, and implementing the Kotel Agreement.
MK Lieberman posted on Social Media and restated what his party’s demands were in the Elections in September.
Avigdor Lieberman on Facebook:
“On the 18th of September, one day after the results of the election were published, I made it clear what the conditions were for Yisrael Beiteinu joining the coalition. For anyone who has forgotten here is a summary: we will not give up on passing the new draft law as it is written, we will not give up on cancelling the Supermarket Law, we will not give up on public transportation on Shabbat, we will not give up on civil marriage, we will demand that a core curriculum be taught in Ultra-Orthodox schools. These are the basic demands. For the length of the election period we heard hate speech from Ultra-Orthodox parties. We are political rivals but we are not enemies. We want a normal country in which citizens live by the principle of live and let live. I am not asking to open supermarkets in Bnei Brak (an Ultra-Orthodox area) on Shabbat, and I will not allow for them to be closed in Ashdod. period.
In the last elections, Yisrael Beiteinu was the first to realize that there is no way to escape forming a liberal unity government, unlike the other parties, who were either against it, or supported the idea during or soon after elections. Today, we still feel that the best option is a unity government that isn’t formed based on the personal whims of the two heads of the biggest parties–who is prime minister first, who is second, on what day there will be rotation, etc. The worst option is elections.
We attempted to hold serious and topical negotiations to form a unity government. On the issues of religion and state, we presented the following conditions.
1. Passing the new draft as it was written. (This version of the Draft law was endorsed by the Ministry of Defense and opposed by Ultra-Orthodox parties).
2. Cancelling the Supermarket Law. (This law takes the power from local municipalities to allow businesses to open on Shabbat and gives the power to Minister of the interior).
3. Conversion by City Rabbis, a practice that was accepted from the founding of the State until 1994. We made it clear that we will not accept any “supervision” of the Chief Rabbinate that is meant to create selectivity and prevent Tzohar Rabbis, like Rabbi Stav, and Rabbi Riskin and others, from performing conversions. On this point I was sorry that MKs who supposedly represent the National Religious (Dati Leumi) public did not take our side and prefered to side with the Ultra-Orthodox.
4. Civil marriage for all who wish to marry that way without limitation and without only allowing it only for those forbidden religious marriages.
5. Reapproval of the Kotel agreement as it was approved in Netanyahu’s government
6. Public transportation on the Sabbath based on the decision of the Mayor and City Council and according to the population of the area.
[These basic demands are still available for all those interested [to form a government if they meet these demands].
I reject the claims of MK Ofer Shelach that Yisrael Beiteinu prevented the formation of a secular coalition supported by the Joint List, that supposedly would have been able to realize the secular agenda. Unfortunately, MK Shelach is wrong or intentionally misleading. First of all, a coalition supported by the Islamic party is not secular. Secondly, as a matter of principle, a coalition that depends on Arab MKs who, during conflict between the IDF and a fundamentalist terror organization like Islamic Jihad, stand with the terror organization and accuse Israeli soldiers of war crimes, has no right to exist morally. In addition, it should be emphasized that Arab MKs always coordinate with Ultra-Orthodox parties on anything related to religion and state. What we have seen for the past few years is that Shas, United Torah Judaism, and the Joint List will always be aligned on legislation on issues of military service and religion and state. Those who have seen and heard the praise MK Gafni and MK Tibi have heaped on each other might have thought it was the story of David and Jonathan. Unfortunately, the coalition of Non-Zionist and Anti-Zionist parties has proved itself as the most effective strategic alliance in Israel’s Knesset”.