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Report: Likud Officials Fed Up with Lapid

Senior Likud members are fed up with the behavior of Yesh Atid and are hinting that there will be changes in the coalition if this keeps up.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/16/2013, 2:15 AM

Lapid and Netanyahu
Lapid and Netanyahu
Flash 90

Senior members of the Likud party are fed up with the behavior of Finance Minister Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party and are hinting that there will be changes in the coalition should Yesh Atid keep this up.

According to reports Sunday on Channel 2 and Channel 10, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was irritated by Lapid voting against the proposal to set up a public committee to discuss the possibility of purchasing a plane for the prime minister for flights abroad.

As this was not the first time that Yesh Atid’s ministers have tried to sabotage proposals, Likud officials are now saying that if this continues, Netanyahu would consider parting ways with Yesh Atid in favor of the hareidi-religious parties.

"If Lapid will continue to oppose everything that the Prime Minister brings forward, he will have only himself to blame for the hareidim joining the government," those officials were quoted as saying on Channel 2.

Channel 10 quoted Likud members as having accused Lapid of deliberately making trouble in the coalition because of his disagreement with Netanyahu over who should head the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee instead of Avigdor Liberman.

Yesh Atid wants its MK Ofer Shelah to be appointed to head the committee, while Netanyahu prefers MK Tzahi Hanegbi of the Likud.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is the Knesset’s most important committee and has not been able to meet because of the spat between Netanyahu and Lapid. Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein is set to appoint a temporary head to the committee this week, until Lapid and Netanyahu can agree on a permanent chairman.

In explaining his decision to vote against the personal plane for the Prime Minister, Lapid said that this is an unnecessary move at a time when the government is cutting budgets and increasing taxes.

The disagreements with Netanyahu come in the wake of disagreements that Lapid has recently had with Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett.

Lapid and Bennett, who made a pact after the election to enter the coalition together or not at all, quarreled recently over the issue of civil marriage but quickly made up. Last week, another disagreement surfaced between the parties, this time over the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Lapid said last week he was determined to do whatever it takes to prevent the failure of the current negotiations, hinting that a change in the make-up of the coalition - meaning the departure of the Jewish Home - might be needed in order to achieve peace.

Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked played down the tensions, telling Arutz Sheva Saturday evening that the coalition is not as shaky as it seems to be.

"It does look like that from the outside, but from within it is much less bad,” she said. “There are disagreements between me and Ofer Shelah and Elazar Stern (Hatnua) on various subjects, like the hesder yeshivas, but we work well together. In every coalition, there are disagreements and arguments that stem from the fact that we belong to different parties.”

MK Shaked said that the demands of Yesh Atid for hareidi enlistment are not as extreme as people think. No sanctions will be put in place against hareidim who do not enlist until 2017, she noted.