New crisis stalls unity government formation

Monday, January 03, 2005 | 
Opponents of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral Gaza withdrawal plan are putting intense pressure on the small United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party to stay out of the new unity government that Sharon is trying to form with the Labor party. Likud cabinet ministers reminded Sharon on Sunday that the party’s central committee only voted to allow him to form a coalition with Labor if at least one religious party also joined in. Prominent UTJ rabbis are giving their opinions this week on the question of entering a coalition with Labor and Likud, with growing indications that most will rule against it. Sharon is warning today that new Knesset elections will be required if the Orthodox party does not join his coalition by the end of this week.

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