Bezalel Smotrich and Rabbi Rafi Peretz after signing the agreement with the National Union..
(photo credit: BAYIT YEHUDI)
Likud and the Union of Right-wing Parties (URP) held their first coalition negotiations meeting on Friday.
“The meeting took place in a good atmosphere and centered on the guidelines and demands of both sides,” a joint statement from the sides read.
The negotiating teams plan to meet at the beginning of next week.
URP was the last of the Knesset’s right-wing factions to begin negotiating with the Likud, due in part to fighting between the leaders of the two parties making up the bloc, Bezalel Smotrich of National Union and Rabbi Rafi Peretz of Bayit Yehudi, over what the party would strive for in the talks.
Part of the disagreements were over opposition in Bayit Yehudi to some of Smotrich’s demands, saying he was being overly aggressive.
But the parties came to an agreed-upon list of demands ahead of Friday’s meeting.
As URP had said in previous weeks, they will seek the Education Ministry for Peretz and Justice Ministry for Smotrich, as well as the “override clause” allowing the Knesset to re-pass laws struck down by the Supreme Court. The party would also like to keep the deputy defense minister position, held by MK Eli Ben-Dahan in the last term, and to have a third portfolio that would go to Peretz, probably the Jerusalem or Diaspora Ministries, or a combination of the two.
One of URP’s more controversial demands is for the government to set an NIS 5 million budget for an effort to lower divorce rates in Israel, in part by creating a department of psychologists and social workers to offer subsidized couples therapy.
Another URP demand would be to privatize Army Radio.
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