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Yisrael Beytenu Weighs Future with Likud

Yisrael Beytenu to decide Sunday whether to continue its alliance with Likud.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/24/2013, 11:30 AM

Liberman and Netanyahu at a faction meeting earlier this year
Liberman and Netanyahu at a faction meeting earlier this year
Flash 90

The Yisrael Beytenu party will reach a formal decision Sunday on whether or not to continue its alliance with the Likud party for the time being.

The party’s steering committee will discuss the issue at a meeting Sunday. Party head Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will meet with ministers during the Sunday conference, and their decision will be go before a party committee for approval.

Yisrael Beytenu is expected to remain with Likud at least until December. In December, the Likud party will hold a similar meeting to discuss the two factions’ alliance.

Senior Likud members are reportedly hesitant to strengthen their party’s ties with Yisrael Beytenu through a formal merger. A merger would presumably mean Liberman and other top Yisrael Beytenu figures would be given high spots on the party list – pushing some Likud members further down the list.

Likud and Yisrael Beytenu forged an alliance prior to the last national election. While internal surveys conducted by Likud showed that the merger would increase the number of mandates shared by the parties, analysts warned that the move could become the biggest political mistake in the elections.

Ultimately, the results were disappointing, as the joint list won 31 seats in the elections. While the results made the joint list the Knesset’s largest faction by far, the number of seats shared between the two factions was down from 42 seats in the last Knesset.