Pressure was mounting over the second settlement construction freeze on Monday, as Likud rebels met in the office of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein.If Shas acts weakly in any way on the issue, it could cost them dearly in the next election, and it could certainly draw a lot of needless anguish even now. Rabbi Yosef has the influence over the decisions the ministers will make. Where do he and they want to be seen on this?
During the meeting, MK Danny Danon announced that he had sent a letter to Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in which he said, "We will do everything we can to stop the freeze. The issue is at the hands of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to who I have written today."
In addition to Edelstein and Danon's attendance at the "emergency meeting," coalition chairman Ze'ev Alkin, MKs Miri Regev, Haim Ratz, Yariv Levin and Tzipi Hotovely also attended. "We are opposed to the freeze and we will do everything we can to stop it. It is not a suitable decision," said Levin. "We must say no to an additional freeze in Judea and Samaria."
Naftali Bennet, director general of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization for Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and Ze'ev Haver, head of the Amana settlement movement, also attended the meeting.
"We have 48 hours to take action. Every proposal offered by Israel is like a one-way street with no exit points," said Edelstein.
"The key is in the hands of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef," said Danon. "If Shas ministers will cooperate in the cabinet, the decision will pass," he said. "At the same time, we are taking action here in order to prevent the Israeli government from accept a decision like this [a freeze] - which is not in line with Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria," Danon added.
In related news, the Arab League and Fatah appear to reject the offer in its current form, because it does not include Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the most holy site to Judaism; hence their coveting complete control over it. Either way, we shouldn't just stand around.