We can manage without Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Shas
Israel would be better off with Shas in the opposition. That will give the party's leaders time to do some soul-searching and learn how to respect others.
I'm unashamed to admit: I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed seeing Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef writhing. I enjoyed the fact that he invited Rabbi Haim Druckman, a religious Zionist leader, to his home, and begged him to persuade Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett not to accept the idea of "sharing the burden." After all, why should his gentle sons risk their lives for the country? That's the job of the secular donkeys and the knitted-skullcap crowd.
Four days before the election, the same leading rabbi said of Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home): "It's not a Jewish home, it's a home for non-Jews who want to uproot the Torah, and anyone who votes for them is betraying the Torah."
So why is he sitting down with these heretics now instead of continuing to insult them?
These are some of the most contemptuous rabbis and politicos. They deliberately harm their electorate. They prevent their constituents from obtaining an education so that they won't be able to support themselves. They prevent them from doing military service so that their eyes aren't opened to outside influences. They want their voters to remain poor, ignorant, weak and isolated, so that they'll be dependent on them forever for their livelihood. That's why they'll be forced to vote repeatedly for Shas and United Torah Judaism.
I'm also unashamed to admit that I enjoyed seeing Shas leaders Eli Yishai and Aryeh Deri whining, and insisting that everything possible must be done to "avoid a rift in the nation." "Everything" means including them in the government. They talk about "mending the rift" when throughout the election they only broadened it – with a disgraceful, racist campaign that pitted Sephardim (Jews of North African and Middle Eastern origin) against Ashkenazim (Jews of Central and Eastern European origin), and insulted Israel's Russian population with the "press star for conversion" campaign ad.
Israel will indeed heal the rift – when Shas is in the opposition. Shas is a racist party that hates women, Arabs and foreigners. In a different country with a democratic tradition, Shas and UTJ would have been ineligible to run for the Knesset, because they ban women from their slates.
Shas is afraid of the alliance between Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Bennett, because they understand that these two parties represent the middle class: the people who get up for work every morning, pay taxes, serve in the army, do reserve duty and support the parasites of Shas and UTJ.
Habayit Hayehudi has another reason for wanting Shas in the opposition. For years Shas has controlled all the religious institutions in the country: the chief rabbinate, the municipal rabbis, the kashrut system, the religious councils, and all the budgets and appointments they entail. Shas ousted the National Religious Party and now Habayit Hayehudi (which is an upgraded version of the NRP) wants to restore its former glory.
In the diplomatic sphere as well, Bennett is preferable to Yishai and Deri, because Shas, over time, has become a rightwing party that opposes any diplomatic initiative. Bennett, on the other hand, said that he wouldn't object to starting negotiations with the Palestinians. Although he would likely resign from the government the moment an agreement is reached, that's exactly what Shas would do. In any case, the Knesset would only pass a diplomatic solution without the support of Labor and Meretz.
In the socioeconomic sphere, Bennett and Lapid also see eye-to-eye. Bennett believes in a market economy and clearly favors competition and private enterprise – more so than Lapid. They would both accept harsh cutbacks being prepared by the Finance Ministry because they understand that without them Israel will see a financial crisis similar to that happening in Greece and Spain.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the broadest government possible, with Lapid, Bennett, the ultra-Orthodox, Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz. That will enable him to spend another four years at the head of a paralyzed government, and to do nothing.
The Jewish people are better off with a Netanyahu-Lapid-Bennett government, together with Livni and Mofaz, but without the Haredim. That will also give Rabbi Ovadia, Deri and Yishai time to do some soul-searching, to acquire some modesty, moderation and respect for others. It will do them good.