PM Binyamin Netanyahu
PM Binyamin Netanyahu Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned at the weekly Cabinet meeting that even as he tries to unite parties in a coalition, Israel’s enemies have already united to pile up deadly weapons around her.

Netanyahu was officially granted an extension of two more weeks to create a coalition government on Saturday night by President Shimon Peres, with negotiations still not complete.

Following Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, the prime minister was scheduled to meet with the officials from the hareidi-religious Sephardic Shas party.

Later in the day, he is slated for talks with Naftali Bennett, head of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.

Each is “wedded” to another party: Shas has made a firm deal not to enter any coalition government without the hareidi-religious United Torah Judaism (UTJ) faction, and Bayit Yehudi has made a similar agreement with Yesh Atid (There’s a Future).

Complicating the picture is the fact that Yesh Atid refuses to sit in the same coalition with Shas, and the only party that has expressed willingness to join Likud Beytenu thus far is former Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, with six seats.

The lack of unity has created some frustration for Netanyahu, who expressed deep concern in his opening remarks to the Cabinet over Iran’s ability to hold off the international community with diplomatic talks while pushing its nuclear development program forward as fast as possible. 

“I was briefed over the weekend on the major powers' talks with Iran on the nuclear issue. The American representative briefed National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror on these talks. My impression from these talks is that the only thing that was achieved was to stall for time during which Iran intends to continue enriching nuclear material for an atomic bomb, and it is indeed continuing toward this goal,” Netanyahu said pointedly.

“I must say that at this time our enemies are uniting in order to bring about not only atomic weapons that could be used against us, but other deadly weapons that are piling up around us,” he added, in a clear reference to the chemical weapons arsenal held by Syria in the north. 

“At a time when they are coming together and uniting their efforts, we must come together and unite our forces in order to repel these dangers.

“I regret that this is not happening,” he added. 

“I will continue my efforts in the coming days to try and unite our forces and bring them together ahead of the major national and international tasks that we face. I hope that I will succeed,” he said. 

“I will continue to try."