Shas Leader Eli Yishai Commits to Netanyahu-led Government

The early support apparently stems from assessment that Netanyahu is assured victory, and as effort to position Shas as certain Likud partner.

The Shas party will support Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, Shas leader Eli Yishai announced at a news conference in Tel Aviv Tuesday at which he also unveiled Shas' television advertising campaign.

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni is presented in the Shas broadcast as someone who is not ready to provide state child allowances, but is willing to divide Jerusalem (a play on the word "lehalek," to divide or distribute in Hebrew.

The early announcement of Shas support for Netanyahu apparently stems not only from an assessment that Netanyahu's election victory is assured, but is also as an effort to position Shas as certain to be a Likud coalition partner, thereby encouraging voters who might vote Likud to cast their ballots for Shas.

At the news conference, Yishai said that with Shas in a Likud government, Likud will be more committed to social welfare issues and to the promotion of Jewish tradition.

He said that "Netanyahu had learned the lessons from what he did in the Sharon government, in which he hurt the weaker segments of society so badly."

Yishai dismissed Livni as a potential prime minister, and against the backdrop of Livni's statement earlier this week that Shas would not get the Education Ministry in a Livni-led government, Yishai accused Livni of supporting an anti-Jewish approach to education.