Report: Rivlin Working Towards Unity Government

President Rivlin reportedly working behind the scenes towards a government with Likud and the "Zionist Union".

Hezki Baruch and Elad Benari ,

President Reuven Rivlin
President Reuven Rivlin
Kobi Gideon/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin is working behind the scenes towards the formation of a unity government made up of Likud and the Labor-Hatnua joint list, known as the “Zionist Union”, Channel 10 News reported Thursday.

According to the report, Rivlin has been saying in private conversations that “we need to have the broadest possible government”. The president reportedly spoke about the issue with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu before the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem on Wednesday evening, and is also in contact with Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog to persuade him to join a Likud-led government.

The Channel 10 report comes several days after journalist Ayala Hasson of Channel 1 reported about a private meeting held earlier this week between Netanyahu and Herzog. The report sparked unrest among members of the Labor party, who demanded that Herzog clarify whether such a meeting had indeed taken place.

Herzog has rejected the reports, saying, "It never happened - [the report is] completely fabricated. [Netanyahu] did not offer anything and we have not negotiated. This is unbelievable - every day my spokespeople and I have to fend off another rumor.”

Coalition negotiations between Likud and potential government partners resumed earlier this week, but no agreements have yet been made.

Adding fuel to the fire of the reported contacts between Likud and Labor is  the Likud's threat from last week that it would turn to Herzog should Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett not withdraw his high demands such as the Foreign Ministry. 

Jewish Home responded angrily that it would not "join the coalition at any price," leaving the relationship between the two and the chances of a unity government up in the air.