National Unity Coalition Not Likely at the Present


bibCoalition controversy continues as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, 2 Iyar will ask for a 14-day extension from President Reuven Rivlin to build his coalition government. At present, talks are stalled in many areas, including the Foreign Ministry, which is demanded by Avigdor Lieberman or alternatively, would have to go to the Labor party to bring it into a national unity coalition government. Shas is still demanding control of the Interior Ministry.

Labor leader MK Yitzchak Herzog told Channel 1 News that he stated immediately after elections he is heading for opposition, which he adds “Which is not the default but the preferred in this case. Not everyone can be [former PM Ariel] Sharon who gave signs and I fear Netanyahu will bring the nation up against the wall”.

Former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni adds Netanyahu wants a coalition of 67, which includes the chareidim, Bayit Yehudi, Kulanu and Yisrael Beitenu, but talks with the latter are not going well. While the prime minister and Lieberman are not on good terms, PM Netanyahu is well-aware he does not want a coalition of only 61, excluding Yisrael Beitenu.

According to the Channel 1 News, Kulanu will receive the Finance and Housing Ministries along with the Environmental Affairs Ministry. Yahadut Hatorah will receive the Health Ministry; Bayit Yehudi the Economy, Strategic Affairs, expanded Agriculture and Senior Citizen Affairs Ministry; Yisrael Beitenu will receive the Foreign and Absorption Ministries and Likud will maintain control over Defense, Justice, Education, Public Security, Transportation, Communications, Welfare, Energy, Negev & Galil Development and the Science, Culture & Sport Ministries. Shas will have the Interior Ministry, and nothing else.

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett will be Minister of the Economy as well as Strategic Affairs, Uri Ariel would have an expanded Ministry of Agriculture portfolio and if the cabinet expands to more than 18 ministers, Ayelet Shaked would be Minister of Senior Citizens Affairs. If the cabinet does not expand, which is likely to be the case, she will only be a deputy minister.

I Lieberman opts out and prefers to remain in opposition, the new coalition will begin with a one-seat majority and PM Netanyahu will hold the Foreign Ministry too. The matter of the Ministry of Religious Services is yet to be determined, but it is likely to remain in Likud control as well.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)