Haredi MK says party will try to form new government instead of going to elections

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Moshe Gafni, head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism, said his party would work to help Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu form a coalition in the current Knesset instead of having the country head to elections this fall.

Gafni’s office says the decision was made after he discussed the matter with the party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein.

If Netanyahu and his supporters are unable to prevent the elections, Gafni says he will work to get them set for October 25.

“MK Gafni just informed former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that we will do everything possible to prevent these unnecessary elections and that if we do not succeed, then the date we agree on is Tuesday, the 30th of [the Hebrew month of] Tishrei — October 25, 2022,” his office says.

The date of the election is one of the sticking points in the negotiations between the coalition and opposition on the matter. The coalition prefers the elections to be held somewhat later, on November 8, a few weeks after the Jewish high holidays. This would give Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid more time in his position. The opposition is fighting to get the date set as close after the High Holidays as possible, on October 25.

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