Rabbi Moshe Gafni
Note: at just about the last possible minute, Lapid announced that everyone had signed to go ahead and form a government. Nonetheless, the comments of Rabbi Gafni are still interesting and valid.
Does this government seem like a fait accompli? Must we begin to take steps to make the best of the situation?
"Not at all," says Rabbi Gafni emphatically. "I am not sure one hundred percent that they will actually put together a government, mainly because there is no connection or rapport between the different parties or the various Knesset representatives. It seems that the association is illogical and based on something unreal. Each faction is coming with its own interests regarding altogether basic tenets upon which the state rests. There are conflicting views on every issue and they are polar distant from one another on everything, to say nothing about Judaism itself.
"I have no idea who is favorable towards Judaism. I don't know where they are headed but it would not be exaggerating to say that the most `religious' one is none other than Mansour Abbas? There are issues that we can trust and predict that he will be against, as we have learned from past experience. But even aside from the subject of Judaism, there is no rapport between them regarding national security. Let us project a state of security insecurity, even minor, or even the simplest problems, at the moment that Balfour crops up, which is predicted to become a central issue, I don't see any glue to hold them together. It's not 100 percent; everything can change and there is no guarantee whatsoever that a government will emerge."
If and when such a government does materialize, is there any possibility that at some point, the chareidi parties would join the coalition?
"No, there is no such chance, for two basic reasons. First of all, we are connected to a traditional public; this is what binds us together. This public is with us. This has many ramifications regarding education, Torah lectures, Judaism in all periphery places, things which we see and recognize throughout the country, everywhere. It is inviolate. This is the only way that we work. Where such a public exists, that's where we are as well," says Rabbi Gafni.