Likud-Yisrael Beytenu coalition talks resume

Coalition talks between the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu parties resumed after Liberman said earlier they reached a “dead end”.

Chaim Lev,

Avigdor Liberman and Binyamin Netanyahu in happier times
Avigdor Liberman and Binyamin Netanyahu in happier times
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Coalition talks between the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu parties resumed late Monday evening, after Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman had said earlier they reached a “dead end”.

The main issue of contention between the sides remains the issue of pensions for immigrants, at an estimated cost of 3 billion shekels. The move would also provide rent to immigrants and is opposed by the Finance Ministry due its sectarian nature.

Liberman, however, emphasized earlier on Monday that the pension reform isn't only intended for new immigrants.

"We are talking about a pension reform for everyone, not only for immigrants from the Commonwealth of (Independent) States (i.e. former Soviet Union - ed.)," said Liberman.

"We want to fix injustices and we aren't (just) looking for someone to throw us a bone. The proposals we received from the Finance Ministry are proposals that we cannot accept," he added.

"I obligate myself to accept the offer proposed by (chairman of the National Economic Council) Prof. Eugene Kandel, if it is acceptable for everyone."

"The offer to spread it out until 2020 says that the addition for every family this year will be between 50 and 100 shekels - we didn't go to the elections for that. At least on this topic we reached a dead end and therefore we are waiting for other offers," he said. "With all the desire to receive the defense portfolio, without a positive response on the issue of the pension reform we will not be able to advance," continued the Yisrael Beytenu chairman.

According to Liberman, "there is no ultimatum, I am not limited by time, I'm not rushing anywhere. I'm not managing negotiations, I'm waiting for a written offer that we can accept."

Netanyahu later on Monday expressed optimism that the issues will be resolved.

“There are negotiations, and negotiations always have ups and downs. When you have to do the things that will allow us to lead the State of Israel, it always requires effort and there are always crises, there are always political fireworks, and it always looks like everything is about to collapse,” he said.




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