Adelson tries to break up coalition

American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson met with the heads of Shas and Israel Beiteinu over the weekend in an effort to convince them to quit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government. Adelson, who owns the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, told Shas chairman Eli Yishai and Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman that Jerusalem would be in danger if they did not leave the coalition. Yishai responded that his presence in the coalition blocked concessions and that his party had its red lines. Lieberman's associates said Adelson did not overtly ask him to leave the government, but they did discuss their mutual fears about the future of Jerusalem. They said most of the discussion was devoted to the birthright israel program that Adelson helps support. Channel 1 reported on Sunday night that Adelson also met with Olmert and warned him against the consequences of the Annapolis process, and Olmert responded that not having any diplomatic plan would be more dangerous for Israel. Adelson's spokesman declined to comment. Yishai said Sunday that the government should immediately cease negotiations with the Palestinians following Friday's terrorist attack in which two off-duty soldiers were killed. "The negotiations need to cease the moment there are fatalities," Yishai said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "The Palestinians need to stop asking us to fulfill our road map obligations before they fulfill theirs. The negotiations are hurting us and we need to stop them."