'I want to hold the wheel'
Herzog outlines his conditions for unity gov't

Opposition head Yitzhak Herzog breaks silence on talks with Netanyahu to enter government, with a message unlikely to please the PM.

Ari Soffer,

Yitzhak Herzog
Yitzhak Herzog
Flash 90

Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog has finally responded directly to recent reports of an impending deal to bring his left-wing Zionist Union party into a "unity government" - and issued his list of terms for joining the Likud-led coalition.

"Over the past few days I have heard a lot of cynical and sardonic insights from commentators who always know everything," Herzog began in a post on his Facebook page. "I don't know everything, but I do know what the truth is about me."

Herzog claimed that for the past year - essentially since Binyamin Netanyahu formed the current government - he has received daily requests to join the government. "To all of them I answered: sitting in the government without holding the steering wheel - that doesn't interest me. I am not a decoration."

In his words, talk of a breakthrough is highly premature.

"Until this very moment no appropriate proposal has been placed before us. If there is an appropriate offer we will consider it seriously," Herzog stated.

"Everyone loves the idea of 'unity.' But what counts" are the principles which bind the parties together, he asserted.

The Zionist Union leader then enumerated, point by point, his conditions for joining the government.

"If I receive the mandate to stop the next funeral procession and curb the dangers of an international boycott, to return the United States and Europe into being allies, to open negotiations with neighboring states and to separate from the Palestinians in two states in order to halt the constant terrorism - then I will know that my hands are holding the steering wheel," he wrote.

"If I receive the mandate to bring down the cost of living, to protect the public from the gas deal, to safeguard the Supreme Court, to cast to the winds all the despicable racist legislation - when that happens I will know my hands are holding the steering wheel," he continued.

Herzog also dismissed talk in recent weeks of his impending political demise, claiming that, on the contrary, his 24-seat party was "on the verge of taking power."

The Zionist Union leader's public statement will severely dampen Netanyahu's hopes of forging any wider government with the leading left-wing party, and may signify Herzog's swaying to internal leftist pressure within his own faction to avoid sitting in a government with the right-wing Likud and Jewish Home parties.




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