Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Shas & UTJ to join forces?

Jpost: United Torah Judaism and Shas will join forces to form an 18-mandate bloc that will work together to protect haredi interests during coalition negotiations. However, both parties were hesitant to say whether they would maintain the bloc even if it endangered their chances of joining the coalition. High on their priority list is the reversal of deep cuts in child benefits. Another shared interest is opposition to a constitution for fear it would increase the powers of the Supreme Court. Both Shas and UTJ also want to torpedo any attempts to institute civil marriage and to increase the state budget for Torah education. UTJ chairman Ya'acov Litzman said he would demand that child benefits would be returned to their level before the Halpert Large Families Law of 2000......Olmert's decision not to include the convergence plan in his coalition guidelines paved the way for both parties to endorse him. Both Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Gerer Rebbe, Ya'acov Arye Alter, senior spiritual leader of Agudat Yisrael, the larger of the two parties that make up UTJ, are known to be opposed to unilateral withdrawal......
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