Likud to Jewish Home: FM Reserved for Liberman

Channel 10 reports that Likud has informed Jewish Home negotiators their hands are tied when it comes to foreign affairs portfolio.

Cynthia Blank ,

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Ben Kelmer/Flash 90

Likud officials have informed Jewish Home coalition negotiators that their party will not receive the foreign affairs portfolio in the next government, Channel Ten reported Sunday night. 

According to the report, Likud made clear to Jewish Home that the position is being saved for the previous government's foreign minister, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman. 

Moreover, Likud warned that any attempt to designate the foreign affairs portfolio to another party would be seen by Liberman as a rejection, and would prompt the Chairman to sit in the opposition.  

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett had previously expressed desire in the post, or the defense portfolio. 

Other top positions, such as the justice and public security portfolios, are expected to remain inside Likud, sources from the party claimed. Jewish Home has also shown interest in the latter position. 

Meanwhile, talks of a unity government between Likud and the Zionist Union (Labor-Hatnua - ed.) are still floating. 

Sources within the Likud party have alluded to a general feeling that the face of the next government will not be right-wing and that turning to the Zionist Union is only a matter of time. 

While coalition negotiations have so far been conducted only with Likud's so-called natural partners - the right-wing and haredi parties, it appears Zionist Union leaders are also softening their position against their rivals. 

According to Channel Ten, discussions with members of the Zionist Union show that while on principle they may object to joining a Likud-led government, this is based almost solely on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's opposition. 

Cracks within the Zionist Union are also starting to emerge, with MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) noting on Sunday that the party should discontinue the "two-headed leadership" of Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni.