Labor party chairman Shelly Yacimovich has been saying that she will not join Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition, but that’s not stopping her from accepting the latter’s invitations to come and talk over their differences.
Yacimovich met with Netanyahu on Friday for the second time since the elections, after which she told reporters again that she will not be in the next government.
Nevertheless, the rumor is circulating that Netanyahu has offered her no less than the Finance Ministry to entice her into his coalition. This, despite the implication that the austerity budget Netanyahu hopes to pass in the coming weeks would have to be significantly modified to allow for Yacimovich’s views on social justice.
In an interview, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon did not deny the offer. When asked if Netanyahu is seeking a coalition built on Labor and the chareidi parties, and excluding the troublesome Yesh Atid, he answered, “It’s not about the chareidim. It’s so we can have the widest coalition possible.”
On the other hand, it could be merely a feint, intended to lower Yesh Atid’s demands.
Labor declined to comment on it, except to say that despite a pleasant meeting, the gaps between them are too great, and Labor will be in the opposition.
Meanwhile, Likud is doing its best to drive a wedge between Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, hoping to bring the former into a coalition with the chareidim and leave the latter out, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Although Yaalon denied reports that he is part of a team appointed specifically to achieve that goal, he termed the reported pact between the two parties —one right-wing, national religious, the other center-left and anti-religious — as “strange.”