PM offers Zionist Union nine gov't ministries

Unity gov't talks continue apace, as sources close to the prime minister say he's made a very generous offer to opposition leader Herzog.

Shimon Cohen,

Is a deal imminent? Herzog and Netanyahu
Is a deal imminent? Herzog and Netanyahu
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

Intensive negotiations between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog are continuing apace, following reports yesterday that a unity government deal was "closer than ever."

Now, the price of including Herzog's 24-seat Zionist Union party into the Likud-led coalition is becoming clearer.

Sources close to the prime minister say Herzog has been offered no less than nine ministries in return for bringing his left-wing party into the government, according to Channel 10. That will likely be in addition to an unspecified number of Knesset Committee chairmanships and deputy ministries.

At this point, it is unclear whether Netanyahu is preparing to jettison the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party (which holds eight seats in the current narrow wafer-thin coalition of 61), or if he is hoping to somehow keep both parties within his government. 

Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett has warned that if the prime minister gives too much to the Zionist Union his party could bolt the coalition in protest. In particular, he described the highly-coveted Justice Ministry - currently held by Jewish Home's Ayelet Shaked - as a "red line."

Other MKs in both the Jewish Home and Zionist Union alike have voiced their opposition to any such unity government.

Sources within Herzog's Labor Party - which is the senior faction within the Zionist Union - say they are skeptical that the deal will go through at all, however. While both Netanyahu and Herzog are keen, the sources noted that the ideological differences between the leftist Zionist Union and right-wing Likud parties - let alone Jewish Home - would simply be too much for either party's rank and file to stomach, and voiced their confidence such a deal would ultimately be torpedoed by one party or both




top