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Parties mum on Finance Min. offer to Yacimovich
By LAHAV HARKOV
17/02/2013
Vice Premier Ya’alon does not deny that Labor leader was offered Finance Ministry if she joins coalition.
 
Likud Beytenu continued over the weekend in its attempt to build a coalition that would include ultra- Orthodox parties, even if it means giving Labor senior economic portfolios.

One day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich met in Jerusalem on Friday, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon did not deny the latter was offered the Finance Ministry if she joins the coalition.

When Dana Weiss, host of Channel 2’s Meet the Press, asked Ya’alon if Netanyahu wants the haredim in his coalition so badly that he would offer Yacimovich the Finance Ministry despite their opposing economic opinions, he responded: “It’s not about the haredim. It’s so we can have the widest coalition possible.”

Labor declined to comment on what Netanyahu offered Yacimovich at their meeting, saying only that the prime minister invited her to his home and that despite the meeting taking place in a pleasant atmosphere, the gaps between their worldviews are too great, and Labor will remain in the opposition.

Meanwhile, Ya’alon continued his party’s efforts to break up the agreement between Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid in an attempt to bring the former into a coalition with the haredim and leave the latter out.

Although the vice premier denied reports that he is part of a team appointed specifically to meet that goal, he listed reasons that he thought the pact between the parties was “strange,” as he described it.

“Equality in the burden [of national service] is what unites Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi against the haredim? That sounds totally strange,” Ya’alon commented.

“They have a treaty that does not reflect their basic interests.”

“Bayit Yehudi is the only party, as far as I know, to get a serious offer [in coalition talks],” Ya’alon said, in reference to Likud Beytenu offering Bayit Yehudi four portfolios, including Education and a deputy defense minister, last week.

At the time, Bayit Yehudi said it had originally heard about the offer on the news.

A day later it was received through official Likud Beytenu channels, and Bayit Yehudi turned it down. The party said it wants to deal with issues before portfolios.

“If, in the end, Bayit Yehudi is out of the coalition despite all we offered them, who will really have paid a political price?” he asked.

Ya’alon repeated that his party is seeking the “broadest, most stable coalition, which is what the prime minister wants,” and is not counting out any party.

“There can’t be talks where people say ‘we just don’t want haredim,’” he said.

“Likud Beytenu doesn’t leave anyone out.”

On Thursday, Channel 10 quoted Lapid as saying his political career would be over if he were in the same government as Shas.

Ya’alon kept quiet about his chances of becoming the next defense minister, saying only that he had not received any promises and is not dealing with portfolios at the moment.
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