UTJ MKs Flash90

Preliminary coalition discussions are taking place between the Likud and Ashkenazic-haredi UTJ parties.

Official negotiations are scheduled to begin after Pesach (Passover).

According to Kikar Hashabbat, one of UTJ's deputy ministers gave Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who is Likud's chief negotiator, a list of the party's coalition demands.

The demands include Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman continuing in his position, as well as the Finance Committee for MK Moshe Gafni. Also on the list are the Welfare and Housing portfolios, and the position of Deputy Education Minister.

In some of the ministries, UTJ has demanded that their representative be appointed deputy minister without a minister above him, and for others the party asked for a minister to be placed above the deputy. The party also insisted on heading two Knesset committees and to be part of other committees, so that each of the party's 8 MKs will have a position.

"Within the party, it was already understood that the positions would need to be divided between the factions during the holiday in order to prevent problems later on," a UTJ source told Kikar Hashabbat. "It was therefore decided to submit the list of demands. Regarding our stance on the important religious issues, we will work on that in an organized fashion after the holiday."

UTJ is made up of the hasidic Agudat Yisrael faction, and the Lithuanian-haredi Degel Hatorah faction.

The site noted that Levin is expected to respond to the list after Pesach.

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