Chairman of the Israeli Labour Party Shimon Peres said Thursday that his party would not join the government if the National Religious Party (NRP) - an ultra-right wing party, resigns over the rabbinical courts crisis and the decision to dismantle the Israeli Religious Affairs Ministry.
Peres was responding to NRP sources saying that Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon would soon have to decide whether he
wants a right-wing government or a Labor-Shinui coalition. Shinui is the Jewish state's secular party.
"Why should we join the government after it destroyed
any chance for peace," Peres said in an interview to Israel's Army Radio. "We are not on our way to the government because it has turned right toward a complete stalemate in all fields," Peres said. "What do we have to do there; to enter a refrigerator"?, he asked.
Sharon on Wednesday evening blasted the NRP for a decision to urge the party's withdrawal from the coalition.
The NRP lawmakers said Wednesday evening that they would recommend for the party to quit the government unless its demands are met regarding the breakup of the Religious Affairs Ministry and the regional religious councils.
The NRP central committee, its decision-making body, will meet after the Jewish "Sukkot" holiday, which lasts until next Saturday.
During the NRP meeting, which came in the wake of a cabinet decision earlier in the day to approve the breakup, faction chairman Saul Yahalom proposed that the party's two ministers - Effi Eitam and Zvulun Orlev - remove themselves from the cabinet until the crisis is resolved.
The cabinet ruling means that authority for the rabbinical courts will be transferred to the Justice Ministry, despite the opposition from the NRP. The NRP wants the rabbinical courts and the Chief Rabbinate kept together and moved to the Prime Minister's Office. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )