Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Israel: New Coalition May Limit Influence of Ultra-Orthodox

 What if Israel had a coalition government that was not beholden to the fervently Orthodox parties’ hold on matters of marriage, divorce, conversion, and army exemptions for yeshiva students?

That possibility is beginning to appear likely, generating enthusiasm among the leaders of the liberal streams as well as the Modern Orthodox.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying these last few weeks since the national election to form a coalition that would include the haredi (or, ultra-Orthodox) parties that have supported him in the past in return for funding for their schools and projects, and control of the Interior Ministry, which deals with issues of religious law in citizens’ personal lives.

But the two surprise successes of the election, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid and Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party, have held firm to their post-election alliance, saying they would not join a government with the haredi parties. And it appears Netanyahu has little choice but to go along.

It would be the first government since 2003 formed without the haredi parties.
Read the rest here.

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