Netanyahu: Coalition demands need to come back to reality

The prime minister’s remarks came as the cabinet voted to cancel the limitation on the number of ministers in a government, which would make it easier to reach coalition agreements.

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May 19, 2019 13:43
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks to Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman at the cabinet meeting

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks to Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman at the cabinet meeting. (photo credit: YANIR COZIN / MAARIV)

 
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Potential coalition partners are making outlandish demands and need to be more realistic, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lamented in Sunday’s cabinet meeting.


“I hope that we will find a way, as soon as possible, to bring them back to reality so that we can form a strong and stable government for the State of Israel that will continue to lead the country to new heights,” he said.
The prime minister’s remarks came as the cabinet voted to cancel the limitation on the number of ministers in a government, which would make it easier to reach coalition agreements.


Negotiations have been at an impasse for the past week, and no progress was made as of Sunday night. The final deadline for Netanyahu to form a government is May 28.


Sources close to the negotiations view the dispute between Yisrael Beytenu and Shas and UTJ over haredi enlistment in the IDF as “the domino that, once it’s knocked down, all the others will fall into place.”


Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman announced on Monday that he refused to negotiate until his demands are met, and UTJ would not continue talks until after the Eurovision took place on Saturday, because it involved mass violations of Shabbat.


The Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) remained steadfast in its demand that it receive the Justice Ministry and the Education Ministry, as it had in the last government.


Netanyahu wants the Likud to retain the Justice Ministry for Yariv Levin, a close ally of the prime minister. Levin and URP MK Bezalel Smotrich, who has been eying the portfolio, have very similar positions, seeking to curb judicial activism. However, Netanyahu would like the Likud to head the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, as Justice Ministers always do, which would give him greater control over what bills pass or not.


Influential religious Zionist Rabbi Haim Druckman told Galey Israel Radio on Sunday that without those portfolios, there won’t be a government.


“What is this? Parties with four seats can get the Finance Ministry and [URP] gets nothing [with six]?” he asked. “Even if they offer us the Public Security Ministry, we won’t go in. [URP] is a good boy, so we deserve a spit in the face?”

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