Israel’s current government is one of the worst ever for the country’s large ultra-Orthodox Jewish population. There are no ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition, and some key ministerial posts are being held by factions dedicated to curbing Orthodox influence and slashing budget allocations to the community.
But until now, despite public condemnations of its great sins against Judaism1, the ultra-Orthodox weren’t too worried about the so-called “government of change.” That’s because they were certain that the coalition’s diverse make-up would lead to its rapid downfall.
After all, how could a government made up of right-wing nationalists, secular pragmatists, progressive liberals and a handful of Islamists possibly last a full term in Israel, where early elections are the norm?
But now with the passing of the first state budget in over three years, ultra-Orthodox politicians are coming to the realization that this government might not only survive, but actually succeed in implementing its agenda.
One Orthodox lawmaker told the religious news portal Kikar Hashabat:
“They are more stable than previous right-wing governments. They’ve got a prime minister and a justice minister whose party barely passed the electoral threshold and therefore have no desire to go back to the polls. And they’ve got left-wing parties who have finally returned to power. No one there wants elections, so the government is very stable.”
As for rumors that the ultra-Orthodox factions might consider joining the coalition themselves after the passing of the budget, the source said the government shouldn’t hold its breath:
“Even those of us who are critical of the Likud’s recent conduct can’t possibly sit in a coalition with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, who hates the Orthodox, or with Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana, who is destroying Judaism.”