The ultra-Orthodox Shas party on Sunday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having already forged a coalition deal with two center-left parties, Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.
The three Shas campaign leaders — recently returned former party leader Aryeh Deri, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Attias — asserted in a joint statement that Netanyahu’s tight-lipped approach to discussing his potential partners in the next government is proof that he has already clinched a deal.
“The Likud-Beytenu has already closed with Livni and Lapid,” the statement read. “The evasiveness of Likud-Beytenu is giving clear answers to their voters to the effect that a future coalition means a Likud-Lapid government.”
Shas went on to warn that a coalition without the ultra-Orthodox party, like the one formed in 2003, will be a harbinger of tough economic cutbacks and a blow to traditional Judaism. The party reiterated its willingness to immediately meet with Netanyahu to discuss coalition terms, echoing a similar plea by Deri on Saturday to the prime minister telling him to pick up the phone and call.
In a scalding response to the Shas accusations, the Likud-Beytenu joint election campaign recalled the unlikely partnership between Shas and nonreligious left-wing parties in the government that signed the Oslo Accords.
“Anyone who votes for Shas is likely to find himself in a coalition with the left,” the statement said.