Likud ministers responded jubilantly on Wednesday to the developing talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu head MK Avigdor Liberman, over the possibility of Liberman's party joining the coalition.
On the background of Netanyahu's efforts to form a unity government with Zionist Union, Liberman on Wednesday issued his conditions for joining the government in a press conference. Those conditions include the defense ministry portfolio, imposing the death penalty for terrorist murders, and a pension reform.
Moments later Netanyahu invited him for a meeting to discuss the prospects of bringing his former ally into the government that currently has the thinnest possible 61 MK majority.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin praised the developments, saying, "the goal of widening the government is within reach."
The Likud Minister called on Liberman "to come and complete the negotiations this very day."
"The great effort we made over the course of several months to bring Liberman to a true willingness to join the government and return to his six mandates to the right succeeded, and I welcome that," said Levin. "We have intentions to hold true and quick negotiations in order to agree upon things with no delay."
"There was no justification for Yisrael Beytenu remaining outside the government and I believe that we can complete the negotiations within hours, in order to establish a nationalist and stable government that will stand on the principles upon which we were elected."
Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev said, "there is no doubt that Liberman is the natural partner to the policies of the government led by Netanyahu."
"I was happy to hear that Liberman was invited to a meeting with the Prime Minister and hope that the meeting will herald Yisrael Beytenu's entry to the government," she added.
For his part Science Minister Ofir Akunis called to bring Liberman into the government, saying, "as I said several days ago, Yisrael Beytenu's entry to the government is preferable to Labor."
"The true natural partner is Avigdor Liberman's party, and not (Yitzhak) 'Buji' Herzog's (party). It is natural and desirable that Yisrael Beytenu be the one to widen the base of the coalition of the nationalist camp parties," he said.
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz also welcomed Liberman's "announcement and his willingness to join the coalition. Yisrael Beytenu is the natural partner of a nationalist government led by Likud, and a quick negotiation should be held to enable its joining so as to advance the national interests of the state of Israel."
Continuing the warm responses from Likud was Deputy Housing and Construction Minister Jacky Levy, who welcomed the meeting between Netanyahu and Liberman.
"I am full of hope that the meeting will lead to the entry of our natural partners to the coalition, Yisrael Beytenu, and that we will be able to boast of a wide, right-wing and stable government," said Levy.
Before the meeting was announced, Immigrant Absorption and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze'ev Elkin stated his reaction to Liberman's openness to join the government, urging Netanyahu to seriously consider his conditions.