With less than a month until general elections on January 22, media outlets were abuzz on Thursday with political maneuvering, posturing and speculation over winners and losers in the coalition talks that will follow.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu soundly rejected reports that he was considering Tzipi Livni to be his next foreign minister. According to Haaretz, he told ministers that beyond not retaking the foreign ministry, Livni would have no role in negotiations with the Palestinians.
"Livni handled negotiations badly, mistakenly and in way that is completely unacceptable to me, so there is no chance I would give her a foothold in this realm if she would be a minister in my next government," Haaretz quoted the prime minister as saying. "I think very differently from her when it comes to future negotiations with the Palestinians. My view on negotiations is not similar to hers, so these reports are baseless."
In response, Livni said the prime minister was "pathetic."
"The more Netanyahu weakens in polls the more he deals with giving out portfolios in press," she said. "We have news for him: The elections aren't over. We are here to replace him."
A report in Yediot Aharonot quoted Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman saying he will demand the Interior and Housing portfolios from Shas, but give them the Infrastructure and Tourism portfolios instead.
"I think [Construction and Housing Minister Ariel] Attias was not a bad minister at all, but we will be better," Liberman reportedly said. "Attias is fit to be tourism minister. He can travel around the world."
Shas MK Arye Deri slammed Liberman's Likud-Beytenu list in response, saying that Liberman's party had succeeded in a "hostile takeover" of the party.
"From the party of the people, the Likud has become the party of arrogance that represents Russians and Whites," Deri said. "They humiliated [Communications Minister Moshe] Kahlon and now they want to humiliate the rest of the Sephardi ministers."
Kahlon stepped down from politics in October, promising not to run in the upcoming elections.
"This should be a wake-up call for all Sephardim that only Shas will take care of them in the next Netanyahu government," he said.
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