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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Netanyahu aims to ease coalition tensions
By GIL HOFFMAN
22/12/2013
Prime minister meets with heads of parties, tells them he cannot accept repeated insubordination in the coalition.
 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with the heads of the parties in his coalition over the last few days in an effort to stabilize his government, a source close to the prime minister said Sunday.

Netanyahu’s coalition has endured crises in recent weeks over diplomatic, civil, and parliamentary issues.

Tension between Likud and Yesh Atid nearly boiled over last week.

The prime minister sought a renewed commitment to cooperate in meetings with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, Hatnua head Tzipi Livni, and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

Netanyahu told them that he could not accept repeated insubordination in the coalition.

The ministers reportedly promised to bring their party in line and enable the passage of key legislation like the referendum bill, electoral reforms and drafting yeshiva students.

The prime minister has clashed with Lapid over diplomatic and economic policies and Netanyahu’s plan to purchase an official plane for prime ministers and presidents.

When Lapid lowered income tax, Netanyahu wanted to be part of his press conference, but Lapid declined because the prime minister did not come when Lapid raised taxes.

Netanyahu’s ally, former finance minister Yuval Steinitz, accused Lapid of deliberately misleading the public on Israel’s national debt in an interview Saturday night. He even compared Lapid to the fake sign-language interpreter during former South African leader Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

The dispute between Netanyahu and Lapid over the chairmanship of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has not been resolved. But disputes over controversial legislation like benefits for same sex parents are expected to be worked out this week.

There will be an important meeting of the heads of the factions in the Knesset on Tuesday to discuss matters of religion and state. The focus of the meeting will be on recent problems between Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi and between maverick Hatnua legislator Elazar Stern and other MKs.
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