Zionist Union declares 'war' on Netanyahu government

Faction leader Herzog says he will seek to retain role as opposition leader opposition.

Isaac Herzog (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Isaac Herzog
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face no less than a “war” from the opposition to try to end his nascent government as soon as possible, the heads of the opposition said Thursday.
Zionist Union faction head Eitan Cabel, who will coordinate the efforts of the opposition factions, said he would end the practice whereby members of the coalition and opposition paired off in order to absent themselves from votes.
“Today I told the veterans to forget about the concept of pairing off and the new MKs not to learn what it is,” Cabel wrote on Twitter. “On Monday, the war to bring down Bibi [Netanyahu] begins.”
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog told Channel 2 Monday night that not only would he not join Netanyahu’s coalition, he believes the prime minister should return his mandate to form a government to President Reuven Rivlin.
“A coalition with 61 MKs is not a government,” he said. “It will hurt the population and waste billions. It is dangerous.”
Earlier at a Tel Aviv press conference, Herzog noted that he said from the beginning that the Zionist Union would go to the opposition and he kept his promise.
“We don’t have to do say it every minute on every street corner,” he said. “I don’t have any intention nor did I have to be a fifth wheel in Netanyahu’s government. I intend to replace him.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said he would petition the High Court of Justice to try to prevent Netanyahu from appointing more than the 18 ministers currently permitted by law. He called Netanyahu’s attempts to increase the number of ministers “robbery in broad daylight.”
The Knesset is expected to start work on a bill next Monday that would delay the implementation of a law limiting the number of ministers to 18 in the next government. Lapid said the move would give millions of shekels to political patronage positions that were totally unnecessary instead of going to education, health and welfare.
“This government was born in sin,” Lapid said. “The prime minister is disrespecting the public.”
Julie Steigerwald contributed to this report.