PM Aide: Meeting with Lapid Not for Reconciliation

Nir Hefetz says Prime Minister wants some straight answers from Finance Minister. Yesh Atid denies it attempted a putsch under PM's nose.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 9:45 AM

Netanyahu and Lapid
Netanyahu and Lapid
Flash 90

Nir Hefetz, an adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said Monday that the point of the meeting later in the day between Netanyahu and Yesh Atid party chairman, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, is not a “reconciliation” between the two men.

In an interview with IDF Radio, Hefetz said that Netanyahu intends to demand answers from Lapid about the way he intends to behave as a member of the coalition, from now on. “Netanyahu is not holding this meeting for reconciliation; we are running a state here. Netanyahu is not holding on desperately to his chair.”

"What he will find out in the meeting today is whether one can govern in the government of Israel, and whether the government can be led in the directions he believes in, in the face of the challenges Israel faces,” Hefetz explained. "Netanyahu will find out in the coming days if he can govern in the present government. If he reaches the conclusion that this is possible, he will continue. If not, he will give the mandate back to the voter.”

Yesh Atid minister Meir Cohen denied Monday morning that his party had tried to form an alternative coalition under the very nose of Prime Minister Netanyahu – despite multiple reports that it had, indeed, approached hareidi parties in an attempt to do just that.

Welfare Minister Cohen told IDF Radio that he expects Lapid to tell the prime minister that the crisis between them can be resolved quickly if Netanyahu agrees to support Lapid's proposed budget, including the plan for 0% VAT on new homes for army veterans. 

Tension between Netanyahu and Lapid is high, but MK Yariv Levin (Likud), who is seen as being very close to Netanyahu, said Monday that “the prime minister has been showing extraordinary patience and restraint.”

"In any other country, a minister who lashes out at the prime minister in this way would have been fired immediately,” Levin said. “The current reality is one of anarchy; this cannot continue."

Levin added "the citizens of Israel deserve a finance minister who works harmoniously with the prime minister, and not a minister who behaves irresponsibly and acts like a disloyal opposition within the very government.”

The statement mirrors those made by senior Likud officials who warned last week that the government "can't continue like this."



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