Netanyahu calls on Labor to join government

Prime minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called upon the Labor party to join the government. "The Labor party has many leading figures who are experienced and can contribute much on security, diplomatic, economic and social issues," Netanyahu said. "Their presence in the government would greatly strengthen the country's leadership at this juncture and would significantly enhance Israel's efforts to successfully meet great challenges standing in its path." Netanyahu's overture to Labor comes at a time when he is in the process of finalizing coalition deals with parties on the Right and when it appears that there is no chance of Kadima joining the emerging government. Maariv reported on Wednesday that in a meeting at Ehud Barak's Tel Aviv penthouse on Sunday Netanyahu offered the Labor leader a deal that included five portfolios and two deputy ministers.