Shohat Optimistic Shas Crisis Nearing an End

Published June 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli finance minister Avraham Shohat is optimistic as the coalition crisis nears its deadline, reported the Jerusalem Post.  

"There are 36 hours, and that's plenty of time," he told reporters Sunday evening before heading into more talks between One Israel ministers and professional teams dealing with the reform plan for the Shas education network," he was quoted as saying.  

The deadline to which Shohat referred is the anticipated cabinet meeting Tuesday morning, postponed from Sunday to delay the Shas deadline for handing in letters of resignation.  

It is not certain whether the cabinet is to meet Tuesday. However, Shas leader, Eli Yishai, insisted that he is not willing to wait any longer.  

"Tuesday is the final deadline," he said.  

On Sunday night, the prime minister's office issued a terse statement, which said that "the cabinet meeting will take place this week."  

A spokeswoman office later confirmed that Prime Minister Ehud Barak is not willing to commit to a particular day, said the daily.  

A decision on a separate authority for legal Shas radio broadcasts was a setback for Yishai and party spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef.  

In a letter last Thursday, Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein warned Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Justice Minister Yossi Beilin that granting Shas an independent third broadcasting authority would constitute "a further step in the fragmentation and partition of Israeli society."  

In response, Yishai said that Shas still demands that a third authority be set up to ensure the programming's "complete independence."  

Yishai's office said that last night's meeting on the Shas education network involved "ridiculous issues that could be resolved with goodwill." The discussion centered around ensuring that funds given to the network would actually be used to help the schools and would not be diverted to various Shas non-profit groups, the daily added - 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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