Shas: Finance Minister Has to Go

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The ultra-Orthodox Shas party has made its demands clear before meeting for coalition talks with newly elected Kadima party chairwoman Tzipi Livni.

High on the Shas agenda is removing Roni Bar-On as finance minister. His appointment was made by outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Bar-On replaced Avraham Hirschon, another close colleague of Olmert, who resigned after police opened an investigation against him for breach of trust and related corruption charges.

Shas wants Bar-On out because he has steadfastly refused demands to raise child welfare payments for large ultra-Orthodox families, who often don't have the means to support their children.

In a Livni-led coalition, Shas envisioned Bar-On as foreign minister, despite his lack of diplomatic experience, and Shaul Mofaz, former IDF chief of general staff, defense minister in the Sharon government, and transportation minister in the Olmert government, as finance minister. According to Shas, Mofaz was more inclined to back the demand for higher welfare allotments.

Shas also claims that it will not stay in a government that plans to divide Jerusalem.

Source: Haaretz

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