Netanyahu plans Shabbat Safed parley to improve coalition

Kadima at odds as Itzik says ‘no chance’ of a unity government while Schneller claims it’s an ‘obligation’ to unite.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Dharapak)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Dharapak)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will host the 66 MKs in his coalition and their spouses at a festive Shabbat in Safed this weekend in an effort to boost morale and cooperation as well as show solidarity with residents of the North.
The ministers and MKs will tour the city and learn about its history, meet with local artisans, and bond with each other. They will also eat Shabbat meals together.
“This might be the first time that coalition MKs come together for a weekend,” Netanyahu and his wife Sara wrote in the invitation.
“This is an opportunity for us to improve our partnership, which is expressed in the hard and successful work we do all year long in the Knesset and the government.”
The coalition appears to be stable and it is unlikely to change any time soon, despite efforts by Kadima MKs to bring about the formation of a national-unity government.
Kadima faction whip Dalia Itzik met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon of the Independence faction at Barak’s office at the Knesset on Monday at Itzik’s request. Itzik reportedly tried to persuade Barak to take steps to push for a unity government.
Itzik and aides to Barak and Simhon downplayed the significance of the meeting, which was first revealed on Channel 2.
“I talk to Barak all the time, and it is no big deal,” Itzik said. “There is no chance of forming a unity government.”
The report quoted sources as saying that Kadima could splinter into two groups if party leader Tzipi Livni refuses a call for unity from Netanyahu.
Kadima MK Otniel Schneller released a statement saying that a unity government was needed urgently, due to the changes in the Middle East and the challenges that lie ahead.
“Forming a unity government is an obligation, not a privilege,” he said. “We shouldn’t be worried about unity in our faction but unity of our people against the world.”