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Haredi bloc reportedly pressing Likud to form alternative coalition rather than risk another election

United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) in the Knesset on November 24, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/File)
United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) in the Knesset on November 24, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/File)

The ultra-Orthodox parties are reportedly pressing Likud to try and form an alternative coalition in the current Knesset in a last-ditch effort to prevent its dispersal, which would initiate snap elections.

The Ynet news site says the Haredi parties are concerned about losing ground to the far-right Religious Zionism party, but they aren’t the only ones who would prefer to avoid another election. Channel 12 adds that there are backbenchers in the Likud as well as the Religious Zionism party who are worried about losing their jobs if elections are called and they fail to make it into the next Knesset.

The chances of an alternative government are particularly low, given that the bloc of parties who refuse to join a coalition led by Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu remains the same, robbing the former premier of a majority.

However, Channel 12 reports that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked has spent much of the day in Morocco making phone calls to just about anyone she can think of who might be willing to assist in the effort.

The Haredi pressure on Likud may explain the leaks in Hebrew media that the party is in talks with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz — a claim that the latter has vehemently denied. However, the reports allow Likud to claim that they are at least trying to heed the Haredi demand, even if that is not really the case, Ynet speculates.

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