Netanyahu calls for quiet in coalition

After downplaying party bickering, PM scolds coalition MKs during cabinet meeting, says government "must function as a whole."

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
June 9, 2013 18:34
1 minute read.
PM Binyamin Netanyahu during Sunday's cabinet meeting.

netanyahu looking suspicious 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called his ministers to order in Sunday’s cabinet meeting, urging them to put their differences aside on behalf of their constituents.

In a speech to the Knesset last Wednesday, Netanyahu downplayed recent conflicts among the parties in his coalition, calling the conflicts “birth pangs” of his new government.

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But at the insistence of coalition chairman Yariv Levin, Netanyahu scolded his ministers on Sunday.

“In order to face the challenges [on diplomatic and security issues] and many other challenges ahead, the government must function as a whole,” Netanyahu said. “The citizens of Israel chose us so we could focus on getting big things done and not on little, narrow political interests, and that is what we will do.”

Netanyahu boasted that since the formation of his government in March, it already had many accomplishments, including passing the state budget in the cabinet, the so-called “open skies” air-travel reform, agreeing on a framework for equalizing the burden of service, and extending daylight time.

But during that same time, the parties inside Netanyahu’s coalition also bickered intensely on the budget, matters of religion and state, and how to change the electoral system.

Differences of opinion on diplomatic issues are expected to come out over the next two weeks, especially if US Secretary of State John Kerry unveils a new diplomatic plan.

Hatnua MK Amram Mitzna, who is one of the most dovish politicians in Netanyahu’s coalition, said Sunday that his party would leave the coalition if there is not significant progress toward a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the coming months.


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