A report details far-reaching achievements allegedly made by the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party in coalition talks with expected incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, including barring all electricity generation on Shabbat in Israel and forming bodies that will provide answers to the public on questions of Jewish law.
If all measures laid out in the unconfirmed report by Channel 12 news end up being implemented, it would most likely take Israel closer to being a theocracy.
According to the reported details — not confirmed by either party — the non-final coalition deal contains the following clauses:
- A Chief Rabbinate representative will be part of any panel weighing permits for work on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest;
- No electricity will be produced in Israel on Shabbat;
- The government will fund genizah — preserving of documents and papers containing God’s name, which according to Jewish law must not be thrown away;
- The government will form and fund bodies to provide answers to the public on questions of halacha, or Jewish law;
- There will be more gender-segregated beaches;
- Additional discounts will be introduced in public transportation in predominantly ultra-Orthodox cities;
- Ultra-Orthodox will enjoy affirmative action when applying for jobs in government companies;
- Hospitals will be able to ban hametz, or leavened wheat products, on Passover;
- More religious studies will be introduced in the state’s secular school system;
- The government will mull closing the new Reform department in the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, formed last year;
- Any government service available online will also be given on the phone or in person, with many ultra-Orthodox shunning internet use.
- A law will be passed to regulate the exemption of ultra-Orthodox youth from enlisting to the army;
- Government payouts to yeshiva students will be raised.