Jerusalem (Oct. 22)
Rabbi Haim Druckman, the ultra-hawkish National Religious Party Knesset member, who recently took up residence in Yamit, has announced his resignation as Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.
Political observers wondered whether Druckman’s move was a first step in his oft-anticipated breakaway from the NRP and the Likud coalition. He is a spiritual leader of the Gush Emunim, staunchly opposed to Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai next April, and thus considered closer to the ultra-nationalist Tehiya group than to the NRP.
Druckman himself explained that Religious Affairs Minister Yosef Burg, the NRP leader who is also the Interior and Police Minister and is the chief negotiator in the autonomy talks, had refused to give him
wide authority over the Religious Ministry as had previously been agreed between them. Burg’s initial reaction to Druckman’s move was that it was “expectable” since Druckman had gone to live in Yamit. But Druckman said his new place of residence had nothing to do with it.