Deri said threatening to bring down government if bill boosting Rabbinate’s influence foiled

Head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party MK Aryeh Deri, top, speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, during a vote on the state budget in the Knesset plenum, December 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party MK Aryeh Deri, top, speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, during a vote on the state budget in the Knesset plenum, December 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As more and more coalition members signal their opposition to a revived law that would dramatically change how municipal rabbis are chosen, Shas party leader Aryeh Deri is reportedly threatening to bring down the government if it isn’t passed.

Deri has conveyed the message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that if the law is thwarted, the government will fall, Channel 12 news reports, without citing a source.

The controversial bill would greatly expand the influence of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Religious Services Ministry in the appointment of municipal rabbis at the expense of local authorities — while at the same time also eroding the role of women in the process.

The same bill was discussed earlier this year but shelved due to intense opposition from non-Haredi coalition parties.

Ahead of tomorrow’s planned vote at the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, two MKs for the Otzma Yehudit party have said they will vote against the bill. Likud MK Tally Gotliv, who has come out strongly against the proposal, was reported earlier today to have agreed to be replaced by another lawmaker in the vote, before reneging on that and reiterating that she will participate and vote against it.

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