Unity Government:
Change bloc renews coalition talks: 'New gov't by next week'

Gantz expected to remain Defense Minister in new government, with Avidgor Liberman becoming Finance Minister, Lapid to be Foreign Minister.

David Rosenberg ,

הגשמת חלום ראשות הממשלה בתמורה לראשו הפוליטי של נתניהו. בנט ולפיד
הגשמת חלום ראשות הממשלה בתמורה לראשו הפוליטי של נתניהו. בנט ולפיד
צילום: מרים אלסטר, פלאש 90

Opposition leaders resumed coalition talks Sunday, days after Opposition Leader Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) was tasked by President Reuven Rivlin with forming a new coalition government.

Representatives of parties from the change bloc gathered at the Kfar Maccabiah hotel in Ramat Gan Sunday to negotiate terms for an alternative government.

The talks have reportedly made significant progress, with two opposition lawmakers saying a new government will likely be sworn in within the next 14 days.

According to a report by Yediot Aharnot Sunday afternoon, Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Blue and White MK Michael Biton said negotiations were on track to lead to the formation of a government “in a week to two weeks.”

“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to reach an agreement very quickly,” said Forer. “There is a good chance that this will make progress – that means no one will get exactly what they want, but then again, no one got 61 seats.”

“By next week we’ll have a new government.”

Blue and White chief Benny Gantz is expected to retain the Defense Ministry, Ma’ariv reported Sunday afternoon, while Yisrael Beytenu chief Avidgor Liberman is likely to receive the Finance Ministry portfolio. Yair Lapid is expected to serve as Foreign Minister, with Naftali Bennett as premier.

Other details remain unresolved, however, including the size of the government and the allocation of other ministries and key committee positions.

Furthermore, the two center-right parties involved in the negotiations – Yamina and the New Hope – have yet to reach an accord with the center-left and left-wing parties on key issues, including the status quo on matters of religion and state.

Amid the progress towards an alternative government, the Likud has ramped up its attacks on Yamina and the New Hope, accusing them of ‘betraying’ the Right.

“Bennett and Sa’ar are betraying all the right-wing values they held for so long,” Likud MK Shlomo Karhi said in an interview with Yediot Aharonot Sunday. “Bennett stole 200,000 votes from the Right and is using them to form a government which will do what no left-wing government would have dared to do.”



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