Shas chairman Aryeh Deri says his party will not enter the government unless Likud agrees to lower the VAT on basic products to zero and give his party several social portfolios.
“Shas carried the social banner for the two million people who are transparent,” says Deri, referencing the party’s campaign slogan. “Without enacting 0% VAT on basic products and receiving ministries that will be a social toolbox to implement the social policies which we promised, we will not return to negotiations,” Deri is quoted by NRG as saying.
Deri’s comments are made after UTJ is all but inside the new government, waiting only for the approval of the Council of Torah Sages.
Kulanu is also ready to sign a coalition agreement with Likud. Likud officials say that despite Deri’s comments on the party’s social commitments, the real rub in making him sign the dotted line of an agreement revolves around which ministry he will lead.
Likud offered Deri the Interior Ministry but without the Planning Administration, which Kulanu wants to control, but according to NRG Deri refuses to accept the job without control of the powerful housing authority; he also does not want the Ministry of Economy, which Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett will vacate when he becomes – in all likelihood – education minister.
According to Likud sources, Shas is the main obstacle to establishing a coalition.