Bitan Says Zionist Camp Blocking Unity Gov’t

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan, of Likud. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan, of Likud. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The prime minister is willing, but there is no partner for unity.

So said coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) in response to media reports about renewed efforts to bring Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Camp into the government.

Bitan maintains that while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would like to have them in the coalition, Herzog’s inability to bring more than a handful of MKs with him has been the impediment, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Likud sources said that Netanyahu would welcome having Herzog in the coalition, which would greatly facilitate passage of the state budget in the winter session starting October 31.

In addition, a broader coalition would provide Netanyahu with stronger backing in the event of trouble with the outgoing Obama administration. The sources noted that the post-election period has seen steps taken against Israel’s wishes by the Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations.

Zionist Camp MKs publicly displayed lack of support for Herzog on Wednesday following reports of secret negotiations with Netanyahu. Amir Peretz, Eitan Cabel, Hilik Bar, Erel Margalit, Itzik Shmuli and Miki Rosenthal all said they would refuse to follow Herzog into a unity government.

“I am sure that less than half of our faction would join,” Rosenthal said. “It would be bad for the party and bad for the country.”

However, Zionist Camp MK Eitan Broshi said that opposition to such a move was eroding. “We need to disconnect from the delusional Left, and if we join, we can help Netanyahu disconnect from the extreme Right,” Broshi said.

“Those who care for Israel’s interests need to put their interests aside and allow decisive historical decisions.”