Shas won’t join left-wing government, party leader indicates

Aryeh Deri says his faction will work to influence PM Netanyahu on social issues and poverty

Aryeh Deri, Jerusalem, December 30, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Aryeh Deri, Jerusalem, December 30, 2014 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Shas leader MK Aryeh Deri said Thursday he cannot envision his party joining a coalition led by the center-left Zionist Camp.

“I certainly don’t see Shas sitting in a left-wing government, but a narrow right-wing government will also have a difficult time solving social issues,” Deri was quoted as saying by the Walla news site. He was speaking at a meeting with high school students in Beersheba.

“[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has very different [leanings] when Shas in not in the government along with him. He is cruel toward the lower classes, and this is something I don’t want to have happen,” he said.

Deri’s statement seemed to be motivated by the recent rise in the polls of the Yachad party, which was formed by his rival, former Shas chairman Eli Yishai in December. The two parties compete for the votes of a similar electoral base, though Yachad has taken a more hard-line stance on security issues and opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Surveys conducted in recent days have shown Yachad gaining popularity and potentially crossing the electoral threshold with four seats. Shas, however, has been losing ground in the polls, dropping from its current 11 seats to a projected 6.

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