Mickey Rosenthal
Mickey RosenthalMiriam Alster/Flash 90

MK Mickey Rosenthal (Zionist Union) on Friday blasted his party chairman, MK Yitzhak Herzog, over what he called “Herzog's desperate attempt to crawl into the government.”

The comments, posted by Rosenthal on Facebook, come following the ongoing contacts between Herzog and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about the possibility of the Zionist Union joining the coalition.

"[Joining the coalition] is abandoning the voters and showing disregard for the public interest in order to save the political career of one politician," wrote MK Rosenthal, who added, "The enormous damage caused by Buji is impossible to rehabilitate so long as he remains in office."

Herzog acknowledged on Thursday that there had been contacts with the Likud, but he also stated that rumors of a breakthrough in talks for a unity government were premature.

Rosenthal is not the only Zionist Union MK who has expressed his dissatisfaction with Herzog. A group of MKs informed Herzog on Thursday that he does not have the mandate to sign an agreement with the Likud and join the coalition, and declared they would not be part of the coalition even if he decides to enter.

Particularly harsh language was used by MK Stav Shaffir, who called the talks with Likud a "betrayal" of Zionist Union voters.

"For an entire year, we promised it would be 'us or him,'" Shaffir said, referring to the Zionist Union's failed campaign slogan. "At no stage did we say 'we.' The ongoing and sluggish discussions embarrass me."

Opposition to the idea of the Zionist Union joining the coalition has also been sounded from the Likud, several members of which blasted the idea on Friday.

"This move will cause serious damage to the public confidence in Israeli politics," warned Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who equated to the possibility of the Zionist Union joining the government to “committing suicide on live television.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely expressed her opposition to the move as well.

"'It's us or them' is not just an election slogan - this statement reflects differences in perspective," she stated. "The public elected us and we should take this as a mandate to lead the government under the stance the public selected."

Hotovely added that the government had "no need" for the Zionist Union, and that "there is no reason why we should throw them a lifeline."

Meanwhile, later on Friday it was revealed on Channel 10 that Netanyahu and Herzog had spoken again by phone on Friday about the possibility of the Zionist Union joining the coalition.

Despite the claim by both men that the call focused on security-related issues, Channel 10 also revealed that the conversation was mediated by Finance Minister and Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon, who is one of the strongest advocates for a broad coalition.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)