Party leaders meet with president to nominate PM

Tzipi Livni Party, Meretz, Tibi don't recommend candidate; Bennett, Shas, UTJ recommend Netanyahu in meetings with Peres.

Peres receives election results from Rubinstein 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Peres receives election results from Rubinstein 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Even though it was a given that Labor would not enter a coalition led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, party leader Shelly Yacimovich made the position clear Thursday after meeting with President Shimon Peres.

Labor did not recommend anyone to form the next government, as had been expected, but left it to the President's discretion."We will serve the public from the opposition," said Yacimovich, stressing that she did not have anything personal against Netanyahu, but it was a matter of ideological differences which cannot be bridged.Labor would support the government in matters of security and matters relating to the peace process, she said, but would remain an alternative to any incoming government.Yacimovich was critical of Lapid's decision to join a Netanyahu led coalition, saying it did not bode well for the economically disadvantaged. The Tzipi Livni Party on Thursday said it is not making a recommendation for prime minister, but is judging the coalition by its performance.The party said that they are unable to recommend a candidate, because the composition of the coalition and their policies are still unknown."We have to take Israel out of political isolation and resume negotiations," Livni said.Zehava Gal-On of the Meretz party also made no recommendation to President Shimon Peres.United Arab List-Ta’al leaders Ibrahim Sarsour and Ahmed Tibi complained to Peres that Arabs are not properly integrated into society and they hoped the president would use his influence to change this. Tibi said elections are an important aspect of democracy but so is the integration of minorities."Minorities can be part of the coalition or the opposition, but neither of them wanted to include us," Tibi said. He said it was problematic that there was only one candidate for prime minister and that UAL-Taal would not recommend anyone to be tasked with forming a coalition, even though its members could think of more suitable people than Netanyahu.Hadash and Balad are, like Labor, Meretz and UAL-Taal also not expected to recommend anyone, while Kadima plans to recommend Netanyahu.Prior to this, Naftali Bennett, leader of Bayit Yehudi committed a major faux pas by not addressing the media who were waiting for him in a side room where representatives of other parties had previously addressed themThe media were told by Ayelet Frish, the spokeswoman for President Shimon Peres, that Bennett had decided not to speak to the media.The leader recommended Netanyahu to be the next prime minister.Arye Deri, of the Shas party on Thursday also recommended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form the next government.Deri said, "According to the meetings that we had with Netanyahu, he told us he would start serious negotiations next week.""I don't think he'll allow other parties to disqualify us," Deri added.Deri gave President Shimon Peres a letter from Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, in which he compelled him to ensure there would be no rift in the nation, and reminded him that he had been Ben Gurion's emissary in the initial agreement to exempt yeshiva students from military service. United Torah Judaism on Thursday asked the president to use all his influence to prevent a rift in the nation, and warned that "anybody who genuinely torn away from studying Torah will cause a serious division in the nation."Rabbi Gafni (UTJ) reminded the nation that even in the days of King David, half the nation studied, and half the nation fought.He also said: "We see what is happening in the Arab states around us. We do not want to see that here."UTJ recommended Netanyahu to be the next prime minister.The five other parties in the 19th Knesset will meet with Peres later on staff contributed to this report.