Mofaz Hints at Iran in Press Conference with Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his new coalition partner, Shaul Mofaz, held a press conference in the Knesset Tuesday in which they announced the entry of Kadima into the Netanyahu government. While Netanyahu did not mention Iran in his initial comments, Mofaz hinted at it, saying that a unity government would face security threats "from all ranges" in the best way.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "The state of Israel needs stability. I originally wanted to carry on with the coalition until the set date for elections. When I saw the stability being undermined I opted for elections, but when it became clear to me that it is possible to create a wide government – the widest in Israel's history, with 94 MKs – I decided to do so."
At this point, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) interrupted Netanyahu and shouted: "This is corruption! You have broken the barrier of shame!"
Horowitz was escorted out by Knesset guards.
Netanyahu said the newly enlarged government could come up with a "historic alternative" for the Tal Law, pass a responsible budget, and change the system of government. "Recently," he told the press, "you noted the extraordinary fact that the government has completed more than half of its term. This should be the norm," he said.
Lastly, Netanyahu said, a wide government would try to advance "a responsible peace process."
"I want again to welcome Shaul and the Kadima party," he said. "A wide unity government is good for security, good for economy, good for Israel."
Mofaz supplied the press with platitudes: "There are moments in the life of a leader in which he needs to take decisions with a personal character. This is a historic move… A coalition of 94 MKs will be better for facing Israel's future challenges and these are not simple challenges. The state has reached a critical junction and it must decide where to go."
"If it were up to me," he noted, "three years ago I would have entered a unity government."
Netanyahu noted that he had twice invited the previous head of Kadima, Tzipi Livni, to enter his government, but she refused. "I am very happy and I appreciate the fact that Shaul Mofaz has accepted this offer."
"There is much that unites the nation… Most of the nation is of a single mind in understanding that certain things should exist and certain things need to change," he added.
Asked by a reporter why the party leaders concealed the truth about their plans for a unity coalition from the nation and from the press, Netanyahu said sarcastically that he understands the journalist's frustration.