Netanyahu: I Never Ruled Out Any Parties
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that he is not ruling out any party joining his future coalition.
"I am a ready for a broad coalition, but some parties are rejecting me in advance," Netanyahu said in an interview that will air on Channel 2 on Monday and of which excerpts were released Saturday night.
He said that if he is re-elected as prime minister, he would rather establish a large government. "I did not rule out any parties, at this stage they are rejecting us. But anyone who wants to join us will have, of course, to go in the political and economic direction that I think is responsible and has proven itself."
Asked if he would rather set up a nationalist-hareidi government or a government with parties from the center-left, Netanyahu replied, "I have not yet been elected. I hope to be elected...I tell you today, I want a broad government that is based first and foremost on a large Likud Beytenu party. I'm not moving away from my positions. There are different opinions within the Likud, but the main line is determined by me, and will be led by me."
On the question of whether Tzipi Livni, head of the Hatnua party will be given a ministerial position in his cabinet, Netanyahu repeated remarks made by Environment Minister Gilad Erdan last week, saying, "A minister yes. But I will lead our policy with the Palestinians." Asked a similar question about Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich, he replied, "It depends on her."
When asked if he would appoint Yechimovich as Finance Minister, the Prime Minister said, "For the sake of the Israeli economy, we should continue the responsible and successful line we led up to now."
In the interview Netanyahu responded to the harsh criticism by former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin that was published on Friday. Diskin lashed out at Netanyahu, portraying him as weak, out of touch, and a danger to Israel’s security.
"I'm not dealing with the recycling of things just two weeks before the election and which come from all sorts of personal frustrations and motivations," said Netanyahu. "In the entire history of Israel there were never such serious discussions on the Iranian issue with all the professional ranks, with patience and analyses and decisions."
He repeated what he told Israeli ambassadors last week, that Iran is an existential threat to Israel. "We led a global move against Iran. I do not have to respond to Diskin, it's not serious. Let the public decide if I'm on a messianic mission or working for personal reasons," he said.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Yesh Atid (Future) chairman Yair Lapid shot down the idea of forming an anti-Likud bloc with Labor and Livni's party, but then gave it his conditional consent. The idea was floated Friday night by Livni in a live Channel 2 television appearance, then seconded by Yechimovich. Yechimovich and Livni agreed to meet soon to discuss the move.
Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he would meet Yechimovich and Livni, but added, "I have no interest in joining a 'blocking bloc' because it is not my habit to boycott people and parties."
Later Saturday he said, however, in a television interview, that if none of the centrist parties enter a government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, neither would he. Speaking on Channel 2's Meet the Press, he said that if Tzipi Livni commits not to enter the Netanyahu government, he will also not enter it. However, he again suggested that Yesh Atid, Labor and Livni enter a "unity government" with Netanyahu.