Spiritual leader of Haredi party opposes West Bank settlements, grandson says
An ultra-Orthodox senior rabbi and spiritual leader of the United Judaism Torah Party opposes Jews living in West Bank settlements on the grounds that it is a provocation against Arabs, his grandson said, in a report aired by the public broadcaster Kan.
Yaacov (Yanki) Kanievsky, who acts as a spokesperson and substitute for his grandfather Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, widely recognized as the greatest Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox sage alive, made the revelation in private conversations in which he discussed the possibility of ultra-Orthodox parties joining the governing coalition. Elder Kanievsky is the spiritual leader of the United Judaism Torah Party, which has followed former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into opposition.
âThe rabbi has no problem with the left or the right. His stance is really not on the right on the Land of Israel issue, âsaid his grandfather’s young Kanievsky, referring to the Jewish nationalist ideology that all biblical Israel should be part of the Jewish state.
âQuite the contrary,â he continued, âthe rabbi repeatedly said not to provoke the Arabs and not to live in settlements. “
Kan obtained tapes of the conversations, held last week, and broadcast one segment on Monday. A full report of the conversations, including other recordings, was due to be released on Tuesday.
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Speaking with an unidentified person, Kanievsky was asked if the ultra-Orthodox, known as Haredim, would join the new coalition, a collection of left, centrist and right-wing parties, as well as an Islamist faction. , which ended the over 12 years in office. Meanwhile, the Haredi parties were staunch allies of Netanyahu.
âWe would need to see what the offer is, what they are prepared to do,â Kanievsky said. âLet them talk about it. “
During the process of forming the coalition, he said, “no one came up with a proposal to us” and speculated that at the time, the emerging coalition might only be interested. by ultra-Orthodox parties helping to oust Netanyahu rather than being members of the government.
“They checked how much we were going to oppose, they came to tell us that we should not raise our voice [of objection] because we will have to cooperate, ârecalled the young Kanievsky. “But they never said to come and be with us in government.”
According to the report, Kanievsky said ultra-Orthodox parties could have joined the coalition if Avigdor Liberman, leader of the fiercely secular Yisrael Beytenu party, had not opposed. Liberman is the finance minister for the new government.
The coalition has the lowest possible majority in the Knesset, winning approval by 6-59 votes with one abstention, and has already struggled to pass legislation. Adding the ultra-Orthodox parties would give him seven seats in the UTJ and nine more in the haredi Shas party, but MPs leading those two parties have firmly ruled out joining the coalition.
The haredi parties have pledged to work with Netanyahu to overthrow the new government, which will see Prime Minister Naftali Bennett alternate the post of prime minister with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in August 2023, and has repeatedly attacked his legitimacy.
Despite his grandson’s assessment, Rabbi Kanievsky has in the past reportedly expressed strong support for Israel’s retention in the West Bank in the face of Palestinian demands for the territory as land for a future state.
In 2019, when then Prime Minister Netanyahu revealed that the Trump administration’s peace plan would include Israel’s annexation of part of the West Bank, Kanievsky was interviewed by UTJ MP Yitzhak. Pindrus if land concessions were to be made to the Palestinians, according to the Jerusalem Post. reported at the time.
Kanievsky replied: “Say [the US] that the Arabs should make concessions.