Ministers who slam PM dismiss claim that coalition near end

Kadima officials point to criticism of Netanyahu by Yishai, Lieberman, Landau and Herzog as sign that coalition is wobbling.

Netanyahu scary grin 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Netanyahu scary grin 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
Recent attacks by cabinet ministers on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are not a sign that his coalition is nearing its end, the critical ministers themselves said Monday.
Kadima officials pointed on Sunday to criticism of Netanyahu by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, and Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, as evidence that the coalition is wobbling. The officials talked about the “end-of-course atmosphere,” an IDF term for the lackadaisical final days of IDF service.
But the ministers who attacked Netanyahu in recent days made a point of downplaying their statements and intentions on Monday while expressing their hope that the coalition would endure.
Landau said he was outraged by reports connecting a statement he made about the need to expand electricity supplies to Yishai’s demand for more funding for firefighters, and to Herzog’s calls for Netanyahu to stop Lieberman from attacking leftist NGOs.
“Professional comments I made were taken out of context,” Landau said.
Yishai downplayed his recent fight with Netanyahu over responsibility for the Carmel forest fire. He said he did not feel slighted by a general statement Netanyahu made at Sunday’s cabinet meeting about ministers preparing alibis.
Sources close to Herzog rejected the notion that he might be conspiring with ministers from other coalition parties to bring down the government.
He said he disagreed with the notion that there was an “end-of-course atmosphere” in the coalition.
Labor ministers’ threats to leave the government have been watered down in recent days. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who at one point said the party should reconsider its place in the coalition by January, spoke on Monday about Passover – which is in April – as the real deadline for Netanyahu to show progress in talks with the Palestinians.
Minorities Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman has rescinded his threat to quit the cabinet on his own if Labor’s governing convention did not back his proposal for the party to reconsider its place in the coalition. Braverman appealed to the party’s internal court Monday asking it to force Labor’s leadership to set a date for the convention.