Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman at a press conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Likud’s coalition negotiating team drafted a new compromise on conscription for the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in talks with Shas on Monday, and it will be presented to Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday.
Talks were also held Monday with United Torah Judaism (UTJ), but UTJ MK Uri Maklev reported that no progress had been made on the key issues of conscription and portfolios.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay ended short-lived speculation that he will join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Monday, when he attacked him fiercely in his maiden speech as an MK.
The Likud has been looking for opposition MKs to defect to the coalition in return for portfolios. Channel 12 reported that the Likud had made such an offer to Gabbay and his number two in Labor, Tal Rousso, as well as MKs in Blue and White.
Gabbay, who was a minister in Netanyahu’s previous government but not an MK, reaffirmed the message of his campaign that Netanyahu must be replaced, not bolstered.
“Damaging democracy will cause an immense damage for the economy,” the businessman turned politician told the Knesset.
Gabbay warned that should a special law be passed by the Knesset that will grant Netanyahu immunity from the law, “the tycoons that support him and are aided by him” will follow.
Gabbay said that should Israel pass such legislation, it could cause a massive brain-drain, because “the most important people to our economy” will leave the country.
In an emotional moment, Gabbay noted that he first entered the Knesset as a waiter, serving Labor leader Shimon Peres, whose post he would later hold himself.
Hagay HaCohen contributed to this report.