Netanyahu commits to keeping current partners in government

Agreement is another nail in the coffin for long rumored talks of a unity coalition

November 23, 2015 01:34
1 minute read.
Netanyahu and Herzog

Netanyahu and Herzog. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST,REUTERS)

A pact between coalition parties will make it nearly impossible for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bring Zionist Union or Yesh Atid into the government.

A source close to Netanyahu said Sunday that the heads of coalition parties agreed that no new partners would be brought in at the expense of the current ones.

The agreement is another nail in the coffin for rumored talks of a unity coalition that would bring Zionist Union in, because the faction’s positions and those of Bayit Yehudi are so divergent, especially on the matter of a possible Palestinian state, which the former supports and the latter vehemently opposes. The current coalition’s guidelines do not mention a two-state solution.

Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog denied on Saturday night that he was negotiating joining the coalition, writing on Twitter: “In what language do you want it? Bibi [Netanyahu] must be brought down, not saved.”

Yesh Atid was always a less likely candidate to join the coalition, but the agreement between the coalition parties makes it nearly impossible, as United Torah Judaism’s Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman has said more than once he would not sit in the same government as Yesh Atid.

Yisrael Beytenu, however, could join the coalition without any other parties having to leave.

One idea suggested by a senior coalition member that could entice Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman to enter the government is to pass the 2017 budget in the summer of 2016, which would guarantee several more months of stability for the coalition.

Liberman has said many times he think the current coalition will fall apart by the end of 2016.

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