Netanyahu still wants Herzog to join coalition

PM invites any party who wants 'security and peace' to expand government, minutes after Herzog calls to collapse the coalition.

Nitsan Keidar,

Netanyahu and Herzog
Netanyahu and Herzog
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday called to expand the coalition even further during a Likud faction meeting, in an apparent overture to the leftist Zionist Union after Yisrael Beytenu was brought into the government.

Netanyahu's renewed invitation for a unity government was directed at any party that wants to "advance security and peace."

He said that a wide government would act with consideration and responsibility in the field of security, and would try to find paths to advance peace while being aided by regional developments that Israel is involved in.

"We will continue with firm and responsible policy in the field of security, and we will search for pathways to peace," said Netanyahu.

"I ask to expand the government. I call on all those who want to lend their shoulder to security and peace to join our government, in order to take advantage of the opportunities that are standing before us."

Netanyahu's call comes after his secret talks on a unity government with Zionist Union head MK Yitzhak Herzog fizzled over Herzog's demand for a unilateral division of Jerusalem, among other things. With Yisrael Beytenu's entry to the government Zionist Union has ratcheted up its rhetoric against the "most right-wing government ever."

In a likely sign of the reception Netanyahu's renewed offer for a unity government can expect to receive, Herzog just minutes earlier on Monday slammed the new government, saying Netanyahu's "radical right-wing" coalition partners are now in control.

He called Netanyahu a "magician" that made "every good thing" he touched disappear, and said that now the prime minister had made himself disappear as Yisrael Beytenu and Jewish Home "take over."

Herzog also addressed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, head of the Kulanu party, and urged him to abandon the government and cause it to collapse.




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