Shas will vote against state budget

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said Wednesday that his Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party would vote against the 2005 State Budget, and would not be joining the coalition government. Speaking at a news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Yishai said that the budget had insufficient provision „for the weak.” Yishai declared Tuesday that unless the cutbacks to child allowances are canceled, Shas would remain outside the coalition and vote against the budget. Sources in Sharon’s bureau said Tuesday the cutbacks would not be canceled, and that the plan is to sit down with Shas for a marathon negotiation at the beginning of next week, after the Knesset votes on the evacuation compensation bill and Sunday’s government vote on the disengagement plan. „Shas should be paid, but the question is in what areas and how much. The price is not unlimited,” the sources said. The sources added that Sharon may need Shas votes on the budget, but other options exist, such as support from Yahad and rebel Likud MKs who, when push comes to shove, won’t want to topple Sharon’s government. BPI-info