According to a shocking story in the Israeli media, Likud and the Charedi UTJ party are debating various religious ideas as part of their coalition negotiations.
According to the unreliable and unsupported Channel 12 report, Likud had already agreed to several proposals, including requiring power plants to shut down on Shabbat, creating state-funded committees to address Halacha-related inquiries, extending gender-segregated beaches, and boosting religious education in public schools.
However, all parties appear to have refuted that report, denying a deal had been made.
The ideas, according to Likud, are “a list of UTJ demands, not a contract that Likud has agreed to.”
Additionally, Likud refuted claims that it would legalize gender-specific beaches or outlaw energy production on Shabbat.
The two sides “are still actively meeting together for negotiations to establish the coalition agreement,” according to UTJ leader Yitzchak Goldknopf, who made the statement late on Monday.
(It’s possible that the leftist sector of the government or the nonreligious media overstated the claim to create a commotion and undermine the religious parties.)
Channel 12 presented several ideas, such as:
Passing a law to regulate the exemption of ultra-Orthodox youth from enlisting in the army
Having a Chief Rabbinate representative on any panel weighing permits for work on Shabbos
Barring electricity production on Shabbos
Funding special archives are known as a “genizah” — to preserve “shaimos” documents and papers containing Hashem’s name
Forming and funding bodies to provide answers to the public on questions of halacha
An agreement to increase the number of gender-segregated beaches
Discounting public transportation in predominantly ultra-Orthodox cities
Providing Charedim with affirmative action when applying for jobs in state-controlled bodies
Allowing hospitals to ban chametz on Pesach
Allowing any citizen to demand in-ground burial instead of above-ground structures known as vertical cemeteries established to battle overcrowding
Requiring more religious studies in the state’s secular school system
Weighing the closure of the new Reform department in the Diaspora Affairs Ministry
Mandating that all online government services also be provided via phone for those who shun internet use, as many ultra-Orthodox do
Increasing government payouts to yeshiva students
According to the article, numerous Charedim will be nominated to Cabinet positions, including Moshe Gafni as chairman of the Finance Committee and Goldknopf as minister of housing and construction. Additionally, Uri Makalev would be appointed Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Transportation and the Prime Minister’s Office, and Meir Porush would be named Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and Tradition.