While Premier-designate Binyamin Netanyahu is pleased over successful efforts to bring Labor into the coalition government, his largest partner, Yisrael Beitenu, is not smiling.
Avigdor Lieberman feels the distribution of cabinet portfolios was not handled fairly, favoring Labor, signaling he is not about to accept this as a fait accompli. In talks with associates, Lieberman is quoted as saying “Barak brings a half a party with him yet if one looks at the cabinet appointments given to him, it appears he brought a party and a half into the coalition”.
Lieberman is expected to meet with party leaders today, Wednesday, deciding on a plan of action. He is not expected to break the already approved coalition deal with Likud, but he is also not expected to accept the current situation which he feels is slanted in Labor’s favor. He does however agree that Labor’s inclusion will add a modicum of stability to the coalition.
While Netanyahu hasn’t assigned cabinet posts to Labor, Lieberman feels the party is getting too large a slice of the government pie. This will only serve to further increase tensions between Lieberman and Barak, who are not known for working together. Barak was openly opposed to Lieberman during the recent elections and he did not have too many words of praise for the incoming foreign minister. Many are questioning how the two will work together as senior ministers in the same cabinet.
Nevertheless, Lieberman maintains that his party has 15 seats, all committed to the coalition, while Barak is coming in with 6-7 voices of support for the coalition, aware many of the senior Labor faction members remain adamantly opposed to joining the coalition, yet Labor is receiving more slots in the administration.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)