Netanyahu backs down, invites Lapid to join coalition

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 25, 2013 00:37

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu changed his approach to coalition talks 180 degrees on Sunday night and unexpectedly invited Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party to join the government he is forming.

Lapid complained last week that his party was not being invited to coalition talks.

Netanyahu had not spoken out in favor of Yesh Atid joining the coalition since he met with Lapid shortly after the January 22 election.

Relations between Netanyahu and Lapid deteriorated following a statement the Yesh Atid leader made about running against Netanyahu in the next general election. The prime minister vowed in closed conversations not to form a coalition without haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties, while Lapid was quoted as saying he would not join a government with them.


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