Jewish Home Unfazed by Lapid's Threat
The Jewish Home party responded coolly Sunday to a thinly veiled threat by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, to remove the Jewish Home from the Coalition and replace it with another party if negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) make progress.
"The person who assembles the Coalition is the prime minister," said Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked, "and he will decide who will be in the Coalition."
When she was asked by Channel 2's reporter about the negotiations with the PA, Shaked replied, "As we have already said in the past, as long as there is just talk, as long as there are no retreats or far reaching concessions, we have no objection to this."
"If I am not mistaken, Lapid himself said that Jerusalem must not be divided," she added, "and we also think so; that is why we have no problem with the fact that they are progressing at the moment in the negotiations, in talking."
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), who heads the Israeli negotiation team, was pleased with Lapid's statement. "It is a pleasure to hear that Minister Lapid understands, today, that there are some things that are more important than political alliances, and the diplomatic situation is the most important among them," she said. "Every strong, clear voice in the Coalition that supports the peace process is important and vital for our fate here."
"I congratulate Lapid , who has joined the sane, Zionist voice that wants a Jewish and democratic Israel," Livni added, "and we will continue – together with Yesh Atid – to advance the peace process, because this is a national, security and economic interest of the state of Israel. I am happy that a strong coalition for peace has formed that will weaken the radical messianic Right. "
Recently-elected Labor party head MK Yitzhak Herzog was also upbeat about Lapid's statement. "Now that Lapid has adopted the Labor party platform, we can say with satisfaction that we have succeeded in bringing a large political bloc in the center of the political spectrum to the realization that a return to agreed borders is the only path to the future and welfare of the state of Israel."