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Daily Israel Report

Danon Reminds Livni: This is a Nationalist Government

MK Danny Danon (Likud): Livni should remember she's joining a Netanyahu-led government and not vice versa.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/22/2013, 6:14 AM

Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Flash 90

Hatnua chairwoman Tzipi Livni should remember that, despite the fact that she will lead the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, she’s still entering a nationalist government, MK Danny Danon (Likud) said Thursday.

“On the one hand we are not happy to see Tzipi Livni negotiating on behalf of the Israeli government, but let's take things in perspective,” Danon told Arutz Sheva. “Tzipi Livni is joining Netanyahu’s government and it’s not the Likud joining Livni’s government. Hatnua is a small faction with six seats.”

He continued, “I should also add that I'm going to be there and fight for our values, strengthen the settlement enterprise and it is important that the representatives of Hatnua know this as well. They are entering a nationalist government headed by the Likud and not a left-center government.”

The coalition agreement between the Likud Beytenu and Hatnua stipulates that Livni will be appointed Justice Minister and will also be in charge of handling the negotiations with the PA. The final decision on any peace agreements will be made by a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Danon also called Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett to abandon his pact with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. The two parties have reportedly agreed to enter the coalition together or not at all, in an apparent attempt by both parties to guarantee a coalition ally with similar goals, making the coalition talks with them very difficult for Netanyahu.

"There is still time for the coalition negotiations, but I think the trend is problematic, so I want to turn to the Bayit Yehudi and tell them: leave this bizarre pact with Yesh Atid and join a nationalist government,” he said. “We could not dream of a better government than one that is headed by the Likud and includes Bayit Yehudi, so this game with Yair Lapid can lead to not only Tzipi Livni joining the government but also to the joining of Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich and other factors that are not nationalist.”

Danon was repeating a similar warning made by his fellow party member, MK Yariv Levin, who warned Thursday that in view of the way Bayit Yehudi is conducting itself in the coalition talks, there is a good chance that the Labor party will also enter the next government.

He called on the Bayit Yehudi not to disqualify the hareidi parties over the issue of enlistment of hareidim into the army.

“The hareidi parties have demonstrated loyalty. In my opinion they have internalized the fact that we need to make a change in the sharing of the burden of service,” said Danon, adding, “We need to introduce them to the outline and say to them that what has been happening until now will not continue in the future, but that we certainly do not reject them.

“Why disqualify parties? I do not understand this patronizing attitude that makes one say he’s not ready to sit down with such minister or another or to be photographed with him,” said Danon, referring to remarks made last week by Lapid.

“We should lead the process of equality in the burden but also bring the religious parties into the coalition,” he said.

Danon warned that if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition and new elections are held, as the Likud has warned might happen, it would be a disaster.

"The prime minister wants a broad government. He likely would have added Tzipi Livni later, but he decided to invite her now to hint to his potential coalition partners that he is making progress," said Danon. "Those who join today will get better ministerial portfolios, those who come later will have fewer options. The intention is to move forward and establish a government. I hear talk about another election. Excuse me, but do we want elections where a leftist government will be elected? Therefore we should say that there will not be new elections. We will head the government and I hope that Bayit Yehudi will be a part of it.”