Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi and Shas one-upped each other, trying to show
tenacity in the first day of coalition negotiations with Likud Beytenu
Sunday, in which haredi national service was the central topic.
Beytenu sources indicated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
prefers to have Shas in the coalition, even at the expense of Yesh Atid,
should his team find it too challenging to bridge the differences
between them and have a coalition with both, but hopes Lapid's party
will be flexible in its many coalition demands.
Beytenu representatives, attorneys David Shimron and Yoav Mani, as well
as former Prime Minister’s Office director-general Moshe Leon were
tight-lipped going in and out of talks, with a party spokeswoman only
saying they were generally productive and the atmosphere was positive.
Atid's team also kept mum on progress in coalition talks, but privately
said that party leader Yair Lapid would rather stay in the opposition
and "bring down Netanyahu in a year and a half" than compromise,
according to a Channel 2 News report.