Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu last week met with Pensioner Party leader Minister Rafi Eitan, also speaking with him on at least one occasion by phone. He offered Eitan a secure slot on the Likud election roster in exchange for remaining outside the Livni coalition.
Eitan confirmed “offers were made” but I rejected them, declining to go into details.
The daily Haaretz reports that Netanyahu predicted that Shas would not enter the coalition, but he could not be certain of this, fearing Shas would be presented with an offer it could not refuse. As such, he reportedly informed Shas leader Eli Yishai that if he forms a government, Shas would be the first party approached to enter the government. Kadima officials report Netanyahu has promised the return of the monthly child allowance payments but this is speculation at best. In addition, Netanyahu has been a strong opponent of the monthly payments, eliminating them during his tenure as prime minister.
Relations seem to be improving between the opposition leader and Shas, relations that were extremely strained as a result of Netanyahu’s policies as finance minister in the government of Ariel Sharon.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)