Coalition negotiations between Likud representatives and representatives from other parties are expected to continue this week following Pesach. According to a NRG report, Likud officials involved in talks are beginning to show signs of becoming impatient, signaling that until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu becomes personally involved, a coalition agreement with the various parties will not be reached.
The report explains that until such time the players are informed which cabinet portfolios they will receive, the negotiators are unwilling to discuss the other matters including party demands and guidelines for entering a coalition. Some of the major issues surrounding cabinet posts include if Naftali Bennett will become foreign minister or will Avigdor Lieberman serve a second term. In addition, an air of mystery surrounds what portfolios will be given to Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, and if Shas or Bayit Yehudi will receive the education portfolio. Yahadut Hatorah received a promise it would control the Knesset Finance Committee, but Kulanu officials insist this will not be so.
Yisrael Beitenu party leader Avigdor Lieberman accuses the prime minister of stalling while Bayit Yehudi party leader Naftali Bennett accuses the prime minister of not being genuine regarding his promise to make Bayit Yehudi a senior coalition partner. Some potential coalition partners feel the prime minister is still inclined to partnering with the Labor party to build a national unity coalition. Labor party leader Yitzchak Herzog stated he is not planning join a coalition headed by PM Netanyahu.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)