Shas to Obama: Put a Promise in Writing


eli-yishaiShas Chairman Eli Yishai said this morning that he will not vote against a new temporary freeze on condition that President Barack Obama put a promise in a written letter that Israel can resume building after 90 days in large population centers.

Yishai, whose party is a key member of the coalition, said he will abstain in a Cabinet vote under two conditions, one of them being a letter from President Obama. He also wants it made clear that all building for Jews will proceed in all of Jerusalem, which is not covered by the new freeze proposed by the United States.

“Shas will demand that at the end of the suggested 90-day non-renewable freeze, President Obama send a letter promising that building will resume in Maaleh Adumim, Beitar Illit, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer,” the Shas leader stated. Ariel is located in Samaria, less than 25 minutes from metropolitan Tel Aviv, while Maaleh Adumim is seven minutes from northern Jerusalem neighborhoods. Both have large secular populations.

All of the cities are major Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria. Beitar Illit, located in western Gush Etzion, and Kiryat Sefer, next to Modi’in and between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, are homes to a large hareidi religious population.

Former President George W. Bush promised in a letter to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon several years ago that Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, would remain part of Israel if the Palestinian Authority were to establish a new Arab country in the rest of Judea and Samaria. The Obama administration has said that the letter was a personal promise and was not legally binding.

Besides Shas’ conditions, the American proposal has been met by widespread opposition in the Likud party and among other coalition parties, except for Labor, which favors it.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said prior to the weekly Cabinet session Sunday morning that the American proposal is not necessarily the final proposal he will submit for approval. He added that if a final proposal is made, it will be presented to the Inner Cabinet of seven senior ministers with whom he met Saturday night.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beiteinu coalition party, has not commented on the latest freeze proposal but said late last week he will not back another freeze, “even for one day.”

Read more at Arutz Shevah.

{Arutz Shevah/}


  1. Why is Shas Cairman Yishai being difficult and misleading. He knows that the deal is that the U.S., will not request Israel to stop building after 90 days- not that they are proponents of htem building after 90 days.

  2. What’s a letter worth? How much is Obama’s or Clinton’s word worth? They set the precedent to renege on a promise made in writing by a US president (GWBush). What would stop Obama not to honor his own letter and signature? Kol sheKen the next president.

  3. It’s kinda pathetic that the US has to bribe Israel to convince it to go along with this half-baked “peace plan”. What’s even more troubling is that Netanyahu said he was in favor of building more settlements and against more freezes but now he turns around.

  4. politics is the scene for liars, fakes and money hungry individuals. the people of israel are always the losers, no matter who they vote for—they get the opposite.

  5. I find your comment super offensive. Instead contributing to this “religious site” positively with an intelligent comment or argument you spit venemous LH about shas. go away