Herzog 'Would Address the Palestinian Parliament'

Labor leader refuses to rule out joining a Likud-led coalition, defends decision not to attend election leaders' debate.

Hezki Baruch,

Yitzhak Herzog and Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah
Yitzhak Herzog and Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah
Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

Chairman of the Labor-Hatnua list Yitzhak Herzog has once again refused to rule out joining a coalition led by Binyamin Netanyahu, instead insisting that he will be the one to form the next coalition government.

"The polls show a clear advantage for us," Herzog told Channel 2. "I have proven my political skills... I am able to form a coalition. I will know how to form the most stable coalition."

Herzog's unwillingness to unequivocally rule out such an eventuality will fuel recent speculation over the possibility that - despite his current denials - Netanyahu will opt for a "wide" coalition including left-wing parties.

Herzog vowed that, if elected PM, in his first 100 days as prime minister he would focus on three issues in particular: solving the housing crisis, "renewing relations with the US and the (political) process with the Palestinians."

"If need be, I will travel to Ramallah and present to the Palestinian Parliament a vision of hope," he declared.

Challenged as to his decision not to join last week's televised election debate, he responded: "I didn't come for the simple reason that these elections are about the continuation of Netanyahu's reign or his replacement."

"I am the only one who can replace Netanyahu and therefore I am prepared to face him and discuss Israel's burning issues." 

Herzog and Netanyahu have been criticized for their decision not to turn up to the debate, which was hosted by Channel 2 last Thursday evening.