Report: Likud officials turned to US to resolve coalition crisis

Israeli officials reportedly lobbied White House to pressure Liberman to accept compromise deal paving way for coalition agreement.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Trump, Netanyahu after US Golan recognition
Trump, Netanyahu after US Golan recognition

Senior Likud officials turned to the Trump administration for help in pressuring Avidgor Liberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, to soften his position and accept a compromise arrangement enabling Binyamin Netanyahu to form a new government before the Wednesday deadline, Maariv reported Tuesday.

The report cited unnamed Israeli political officials, who say they reached out to the Trump administration in a bid to convince the White House to actively intervene on Netanyahu’s behalf.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a majority coalition government, which requires 61 MKs, amid an ongoing feud between the secular rightist Yisrael Beytenu party and haredi lawmakers over a bill proposed by Yisrael Beytenu which would pressure the haredi community to reach draft quotas.

Haredi lawmakers have accepted a compromise deal put forward by Netanyahu which would back the Yisrael Beytenu law – while giving the government discretion to set the draft quotas – but Liberman has thus far refused to accept the arrangement.

Without Yisrael Beytenu, Netanyahu would be one seat short of a 60-MK majority.

Netanyahu must present a government by Wednesday, or face the possibility of losing his mandate to form the next government.

The Likud has pushed for new elections in the event that no deal can be reached by Wednesday.

Some senior Israeli political officials, however, lobbied the Trump administration Monday, urging the administration to intervene on Netanyahu’s behalf. The officials hoped, Maariv reported, to convince the White House to have a senior administration official call Liberman and emphasize the importance of Israel forming a new government now and avoiding repeat elections.

The White House is expected to release half of its upcoming Middle East peace plan next month at a workshop in Bahrain. If Israel returns to the ballot box in September, however, the peace plan’s rollout would likely be delayed to the end of 2019, and possibly into 2020.