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PM Suggests a Conference to Iron Out Differences in Coalition Talks

bibCoalition negotiators representing Likud on Sunday, 7 Iyar, met with representatives of the Kulanu party. That was followed by a meeting with Yahadut Hatorah officials as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wishes to sign an agreement with the Ashkenazi chareidi party as the sandglass on negotiations is running down.

Despite reported progress with Yahadut Hatorah and Kulanu, it appears the parties are locked as Shas and Bayit Yehudi seem incapable or unwilling to reach agreement. One suggestion on the table is a conference that will include representatives of Shas, Bayit Yehudi, and Yahadut Hatorah, headed by representatives of the prime minister.

There are ongoing and conflicting reports surrounding a number of ministries, including Education, Economy, Interior and Religious Services. While progress is reported with Yahadut Hatorah, it appears the prime minister would include the party in this conference unless a deal is signed earlier.

Some of the outstanding issues include;

· Kulanu was promised the District Planning Board of the Interior Ministry. As a result Shas is not interested in the ministry.

· Shas indicated it would accept the Economy Ministry as compensation for Interior Ministry.

· Bayit Yehudi has been adamant in demands to maintain control of the Religious Services Ministry.

· Shas is adamant in demanding control of the Religious Services Ministry.

· Shas signals a willingness to permit Bayit Yehudi to appoint a director-general to the ministry.

· Bayit Yehudi wants total control over the ministry

· Shas signals it wants the entire Interior Ministry, not the Economy Ministry

· Naftali Bennett gives up on the Foreign Ministry, signaling he will accept the Education Ministry.

· Kulanu states the District Planning Board of the Interior Ministry is a deal-breaker for entering the coalition.

· Yahadut Hatorah wants control over the Knesset Finance Committee, as does Kulanu.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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