Source: PM Could Seek Unity Government

A source in the Likud said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was strongly considering asking Yitzchak Herzog to join his coalition.

Yaakov Levi ,

Limor Livnat
Limor Livnat
Flash 90

A source in the Likud said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was strongly considering asking Zionist Union/Labor head Yitzchak Herzog to join his coalition. The source, speaking to Arutz Sheva, said that “low-level back channels” had already opened to discuss the possibilities.

Although Netanyahu said both before and after the elections that he was planning on setting up a right-wing coalition with the Likud's “natural partners,” such as Jewish Home and the haredi parties, negotiations with all these, as well as with Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party and Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu, has proven more difficult than anticipated.

Among the issues is the seemingly irreconcilable demand by both United Torah Judaism and Kulanu for chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee. UTJ has “traditionally” held the post in recent governments, while Kahlon claims that without the committee, he will not be able to carry out reforms as Finance Minister. Also interested in the post is Jewish Home, which has current control of the Committee.

In addition, said the Likud source, Avigdor Liberman expects to remain on as Foreign Minister. Likud MK Limor Livnat said that with Liberman getting only six seats in the new Knesset, “I don't think making him foreign minister is a good idea. It isn't good for Israel. He is not appropriate for the job.”

Livnat said that Netanyahu would be better off with a unity government. “It will make things easier for Israel, and allow us to overcome some of the divisions in the nation. Note that when I say a unity government, I mean one without Tzipi Livni. A national government with significant divisions would not be good for the Jews, it would not be good at all.”

Speaking earlier, Labor MK Eitan Cabel said that despite the rumors, the party was not interested in joining a Netanyahu-led government. “Let's put an end to the speculation,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “The Zionist Union will be in the opposition. Each morning I am amazed at the imagination of the speculation corps, but believe me, the negotiations are occurring in the imagination only.

One can search between the lines for hints and clues on the possibility of this, as one would search for leaven before Passover in the corners of the home with a candle, but this option has never been on the table,” wrote Cabel.