Likud source: Bayit Yehudi will be part of gov't

Source within PM's party denies report that Sara Netanyahu "vetoed" Bayit Yehudi's participation in coalition.

Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu in Ottawa 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Blair Gable)
Binyamin and Sara Netanyahu in Ottawa 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Blair Gable)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will pursue his goal of creating a coalition of more than 80 MKs that no individual party can topple, despite personal animosity between his wife, Sara, and the heads of Bayit Yehudi and Shas, Likud officials said Sunday.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett sparred frequently with Sara over money and her husband’s schedule when he served as the then-opposition leader’s chief of staff.
Shas co-chairman Arye Deri also angered the Netanyahu family during the campaign, when he mocked their reported hedonism.
Haaretz reported on Sunday that Netanyahu blamed Bennett for leaks that led to investigations into funding of his trips abroad. The report said that Sara “vetoed” the inclusion of Bayit Yehudi in her husband’s coalition because of her personal grudge.
The Likud downplayed the importance of such tension on Sunday, stating definitively that Bayit Yehudi would be part of the prime minister’s future coalition and that Netanyahu wanted Shas as well.
“Despite the mudslinging that has not stopped even after the election, the prime minister will continue to act out of purely professional considerations,” a senior Likud source said.
“He intends to form the widest government possible in order to deal with the challenges facing Israel’s security and internal affairs. This wide government will also include Bayit Yehudi,” he said.
Ayelet Shaked, who previously served as Netanyahu’s bureau chief and is an incoming Bayit Yehudi MK, wrote on Twitter on Sunday that neither she nor Bennett were involved in any leaks of information against the prime minister.
Haredi parties United Torah Judaism and Shas said they intended to raise their asking price for joining the coalition following reports that Netanyahu would rule out Bayit Yehudi.
Informal contacts are taking place behind the scenes between Shas and Yesh Atid in an effort to reach compromises that would enable the two parties to coexist in a coalition despite their differences.
“We won’t sit in a government at any price,” Shas cochairman Eli Yishai told a meeting of his faction in Jerusalem on Sunday. “We are looking for a golden way to bridge the gap between sectors in our society.”
The incoming Yesh Atid faction also convened Sunday for the first time since the election.
Outgoing MKs Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) and Zevulun Orlev (Bayit Yehudi) briefed the 19 Yesh Atid MK-elects on how to be effective legislators.
A Yesh Atid source said Plesner did not speak to the group about his plan for drafting yeshiva students. The source also denied reports that Lapid would insist on only 18 ministers being appointed to the next cabinet, saying that the party would be happy with a reduction in size of the cabinet and the passage of a bill to ensure an 18- minister limit following the next election.
“We know not everything we want will change tomorrow,” a Yesh Atid source said. “We are not naive. We certainly won’t accept as large a government as we had before.”