Coalition talks will officially begin on Sunday, after President Shimon Peres
tasked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with forming the next
Netanyahu called on leaders of parties that announced they
would not serve in his government to reconsider and stressed the need to form a
national unity government to deal with the issues facing the country, both
domestically and internationally.
Likud Beytenu’s negotiating team will
meet with Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi and Shas in Ramat Gan on Sunday, on the first
day of coalition talks. Netanyahu has 28 days from Saturday to form a new
government, but may request a 14-day extension.
“We have to put aside
what divides us so that we can have peace among ourselves and with our
neighbors,” Netanyahu said. “The broadest, most stable government possible is
what is necessary at this time. In our reality, we cannot have boycotts,” he
added, possibly a reference to Yesh Atid’s reluctance to joining a coalition
with haredi parties.
Netanyahu emphasized security issues, saying that
the first mission of the next government will be to stop Iran from obtaining a
nuclear weapon, as well as stopping “other deadly weapons that are being
accumulated in our region and threatening our cities and citizens.”
The prime minister also said the next government will be
committed to peace and called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
to return to the negotiating table.
“Every day that passes without talks
is unfortunate,” he said. “We are looking for a solution of peace between our
Netanyahu mentioned the international economic crisis, saying
his government will work to create more jobs, continue growth and lower the cost
of living and housing.
Sending a message to Yesh Atid and haredi parties,
the prime minister called to create more equality in the burden of service, but
in a responsible manner that will “bring a comprehensive change without tearing
apart the nation or bringing a civil war.”
Eighty-two MKs from six
parties recommended Netanyahu for the role of prime minister during meetings
with the president on Wednesday and Thursday.
Peres said he hoped the
forming of the next government could be done “as quickly as possible, because
the State of Israel requires political and economic stability.”
Sunday, Likud Beytenu’s negotiating team, including the prime minister’s
attorneys Yitzhak Molcho and David Shimron, Netanyahu’s cousin, former Prime
Minister’s Office director-general Moshe Leon and attorney Yoav Mani, will meet
with Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi and Shas.
Yesh Atid’s team consists of
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Hillel Kobrinsky, Uri Shani, an ex-adviser to former prime
minister Ariel Sharon, and Danny Vesely, a close friend of party head Yair
Lapid’s and former producer of his Channel 2 talk show.
negotiators include MK Uri Ariel, second on the party list, as well as lawyer
Shas is sending a professional team, without politicians,
consisting of attorneys David Glass, Nadav Asael, the party’s legal adviser, and
Moshe Abba, formerly deputy manager of the Finance Ministry budget
On Monday, Likud Beytenu will meet with United Torah Judaism,
The Tzipi Livni Party and Kadima.
Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz hinted on
Saturday night at talks between him and Lapid to merge their parties.
combination of centrist parties is important and correct,” he said on Channel
2’s Meet the Press. “I am definitely not returning to the Likud.” •