YERUSHALAYIM - Reports of a unity government in the making were revived yet again on Tuesday night as Israeli media carried a story about a joint trip of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog to Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi aimed at jump-starting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The thinking behind such a venture, supposedly in the planning stages, according to Channel 10, is that it would undercut senior MKs in Herzog’s Zionist Camp who are opposed to joining the right-wing Netanyahu government.
A Netanyahu-Herzog-Sisi encounter would be used to show that joining the coalition could unfreeze the peace process, thus validating a partnership with Netanyahu.
Netanyahu welcomed Sisi’s call for a renewed effort to advance a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians earlier on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, Herzog was heard trying to brush aside evidence of public leeriness regarding the unity government talk. Polls released on Monday said that Israelis were largely against it, including about 60 percent of Zionist Camp supporters.
“The public does not yet know what is being talked about. If we will not have significant influence, there will not be a deal. I am convinced that I can persuade the public if it is a good deal,” Herzog said in a recording released by Army Radio.
The Times of Israel reported that a Herzog spokesman “did not deny rumors that Herzog is advancing moves to bring a possible deal before his party next week.”