Sources: Talks to Bring Zionist Camp Into Government Off

Yitzchak Herzog (Flash 90)
Zionist Camp leader Yitzchak Herzog. (Flash90)

According to reports, police are not planning to bring criminal charges against Zionist Camp head Yitzchak Herzog – but that does not mean that talks to integrate the party into Binyamin Netanyahu’s government are back on, said party sources.

According to recent reports, government officials have been informally discussing the possibility of bringing the Zionist Camp into the government. The discussions were supposedly halted several weeks ago after Herzog was questioned under caution by police over allegations that he received illegal donations during the 2013 party primaries.

Police had been investigating allegations that Herzog received donations from unnamed but “interested” groups or individuals during the primary campaign that catapulted him to leadership of the party over rival Shelly Yachimovich. He did not report the donations, neither to tax authorities nor to the National Election Committee, as required by law. According to sources quoted in Yisrael Hayom in March 2015, Herzog used the money to run a “dirty tricks” campaign against Yachimovich.

With the mini-scandal apparently behind him, Herzog is once again a candidate for a position in a unity government – but party sources said that they did not believe that Netanyahu was serious, and had only been using the talks to deflect criticism of him in the party over recent flack he received from foreign governments over settlements and Palestinian rights. “There is nothing Netanyahu can offer Herzog, not in terms of ministries or policy changes,” said the sources quoted in Yisrael Hayom.

According to that report, police will not make a formal recommendation on whether to close the case against Herzog for several weeks. Herzog has ordered party MKs and officials not to discuss the matter in the media, but on Monday, MK Amir Peretz, a Herzog rival, said that even if police close the case against him, the party would need to carry out its own investigation of Herzog “in order to ensure that we are without any stain of scandal.”