Bayit Yehudi officials noted on Wednesday that by speaking against monopolies and not against the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be pushing them away and perhaps even laying the groundwork for a national unity government with the Zionist Union.
After President Reuven Rivlin formally tasked the prime minister on Wednesday night with forming Israel’s 34th government, Netanyahu said that the future state budget would "lower prices and weaken monopolies that are stifling competition."
The Bayit Yehudi officials noted that in private talks, Netanyahu had made progress with the parties that could be part of a unity government - Kulanu, Shas, and UTJ - and not with Bayit Yehudi, which would likely be excluded from such a coalition.
A source close to Netanyahu responded by reiterating that "Labor was not a possible coalition partner" and saying that progress was made with the parties that are easier to reach deals with.
Likud sources denied claims by Bayit Yehudi that Netanyahu repeatedly promised party leader Naftali Bennett one of the top three portfolios: Defense, Finance, or Foreign Affairs. Furious Bayit Yehudi officials accused Netanyahu of reneging on the deal.
"Even two days before the election, Netanyahu said Bayit Yehudi would be his senior coalition partner," a Bayit Yehudi official said. "The Likud is backing out of promises from before the election. We won't be signing with them any time soon."
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