PM puts forth coalition offer to Livni

PM Livni should join co

The meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima chair Tzipi Livni ended Sunday evening after the premier reportedly told Livni his offer for joining Kadima to the coalition was for her to become a member of the security cabinet along with her No. 2, MK Shaul Mofaz, as ministers-without-portfolio. Netanyahu reportedly stressed to Livni that the government guidelines would not be altered, and coalitional agreements with other parties would not be reevaluated. The prime minister also told the opposition head that what kept Kadima from joining the government upon its inception some ten months ago, Netanyahu's refusal to endorse the two-state solution, is no longer relevant, as Netanyahu put forth just that in his Bar Ilan address. According to Channel 1, Livni cast serious doubt on Netanyahu's intentions to conduct peace talks in a matter befitting Kadima, after the premier stressed that he would be at the helm of such negotiations. Netanyahu replied that the affinity between Kadima and Likud, after the Bar Ilan address, was great and sufficient to provide the grounds for cooperation. Kadima will deliberate the proposal in its weekly faction meeting on Monday. Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu called on Livni to join his government, like former prime minister Menahem Begin did before the Six Day War. "The State of Israel stands before huge challenges," he said at the weekly cabinet meeting. "I really hope that Kadima will respond to my offer, and join the government. I hope they will do what Menahem Begin did in his time." Begin and his Gahal party joined a national unity government under then-prime minister Levi Eshkol at the outbreak of the 1967 war, after sitting in the opposition since the founding of the state in 1948. The prime minister's comments came after he invited Livni to join his coalition, during a Thursday meeting between the two leaders. Livni met with advisers in Ramat Gan Sunday morning, ahead of the Sunday evening meeting with Netanyahu. In a report broadcast on Israel Radio on Sunday, meanwhile, Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik responded to the prime minister's offer, calling it "rotten and deceptive." According to Itzik, Netanyahu offered just a few days ago seven portfolios to seven Kadima MKs, based on those seven defecting from the Kadima party. However now, Itzik said, Netanyahu is offering just two to all 28 Kadima Knesset members. Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.