Half of UTJ balks at deal with Likud, demands reopening of talks

Incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may claim to have a government in his pocket, but members of the Degel Hatorah faction within the United Torah Judaism party say they did not agree to everything in a coalition deal between Likud and UTJ.

A letter to Netanyahu from Degel chief Moshe Gafni and three other MKs calls for talks to re-open, noting that while they attempted to negotiate together with Agudath Yisrael, the other side of the party, the final agreement has clauses they oppose, and leaves out matters they were still in talks over, Ynet reports.

Among the matters under dispute are an agreement to add UTJ head Yitzhak Goldknopf to the security cabinet, which would put the party in the position of sending people to war, along with clauses it says do not sufficiently address mandatory military service and a housing crisis.

“We request that talks between Degel Hatorah and Likud be reopened immediately,” they write.

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