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February 25, 2013

Netanyahu backs down, invites Lapid to join gov’t

Just as I suggested yesterday, Netanyahu had no choice but to prefer Lapid to Shas. In the probable government, Livni, Lapid and Mafaz (27 seats) want negotiations with the PA and so does Bibi. But Bibi has set up a committee that will oversee talks headed by him. It will include Livni, the Minister of Defense, probably Yaalon, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Ted Belman

By GIL HOFFMAN, JPOST

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu changed his approach to coalition talks 180 degrees on Sunday night and unexpectedly invited Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party to join the government he is forming.

Lapid complained last week that his party was not being invited to coalition talks.

Netanyahu had not spoken out in favor of Yesh Atid joining the coalition since he met with Lapid shortly after the January 22 election.


Relations between Netanyahu and Lapid deteriorated following a statement the Yesh Atid leader made about running against Netanyahu in the next general election. The prime minister vowed in closed conversations not to form a coalition without haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties, while Lapid was quoted as saying he would not join a government with them.

But a political pact Lapid made with Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett made it impossible for Netanyahu to form a coalition without both Bayit Yehudi (12 Knesset seats) and Yesh Atid (19). Shortly before Netanyahu’s invitation to Lapid was sent to the press on Sunday night, Likud sources said the prime minister had realized he had no choice but to back down.

“Netanyahu calls for the formation of a government with a majority from the nationalist camp and invites Yesh Atid to join as well,” a Likud statement said. “Bayit Yehudi was the first party that received an offer to join Netanyahu’s government.

The main campaign promise Bayit Yehudi made to its voters was that it would join a Netanyahu-led government and strengthen it from the right. The only thing currently stopping the formation of a government with a majority from the nationalist camp is the refusal of Bayit Yehudi to join the government.”

Likud Beytenu and Bayit Yehudi negotiating teams met late on Sunday following the conclusion of Purim to discuss the as yet unpassed 2013 state budget and a compromise proposal for equalizing the burden of service that Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid had agreed on.

Bennett persuaded Lapid to make significant concessions on the issue, including increasing the limit on yeshiva students who do not serve, raising the age at which haredim will be drafted, and not fining draft evaders personally.

“The gaps between our parties are not as wide as the statements of Bennett and his associates would indicate,” a source in the Likud Beytenu negotiating team was quoted as saying before the meeting.

In a statement seen by his supporters as his last chance to let off steam before joining the coalition, Bennett wrote on Facebook that he made the pact with Lapid, because the Likud had decided to leave Bayit Yehudi out of the government.

“Without coordinating with Lapid, there would have been a government of Likud Beytenu, The Tzipi Livni Party, Yesh Atid, Kadima and Shas without Bayit Yehudi,” Bennett wrote.

“Such a government would have proceeded according to Livni’s diplomatic approach of concessions in Jerusalem and Ariel and obsessing over the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Our coordination changed the map and forced the Likud to bring in Bayit Yehudi. Thanks to the coordination, now the government will be oriented toward internal socioeconomic issues and not only diplomatic ones. We will not veer from our principles, and the public can judge us over the next four years.”

Lapid’s spokeswoman declined to react to Netanyahu’s apparent change of heart. But Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz, who has coordinated his recent moves with Lapid, wrote an optimistic statement on Twitter.

“Even with two mandates, we will fight for the same principles we worked to advance with 28 [which Kadima won in the 2009 election], including restarting diplomatic talks, equalizing the burden of service, a new socioeconomic agenda and changing the electoral system,” Mofaz wrote. “After we joined the government to advance these issues and left it when they were not implemented, I hope and believe that these will be the principles on which the next government will be based.”

Shas officials responded defiantly that if their party was left out of the coalition, Netanyahu would regret the decision much more than they would. In closed conversations they blamed Bennett for boycotting them.

“We won’t be miserable if we are not in the coalition,” Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev said. “The prime minister has a right to decide what he feels is best for him politically, but for the country it’s very wrong. He won’t be able to run the country without the haredim, and the socioeconomic problems will multiply. The prime minister will pay the price when the threats come from the strange bond of Lapid and Bennett. The Likud will be sorry.”

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 12:06 pm | 8 Comments »

    8 Comments to Netanyahu backs down, invites Lapid to join gov’t

    1. retired says:

      I am getting very angry with Bibi & his Byzantine Scheming.Most of these wheeling & dealing political sociopaths,Bibi included,are only interested in their own power & self enrichment.If the well being of the nation were what mattered to them they could solve many problems with relative ease.But this might not be profitable to them as politicians & so they look the other way & let the problems linger on.They are more interested in their underhanded deals,the public be damned!
      Actually the basic problem lies with the idiots that comprise the voting public.One great thinker (Jefferson?)said that the public “gets the government that it deserves”.H.L Mencken noted that most people don’t care about being free,they just want to be safe.What I am saying is that Democracy,as it is practiced in western nations,is a sham,a form of mob rule.Politicians have one great talent & that is to find & exploit the base instincts of the voting public.To manipulate the voters by telling them whatever they want to hear.Israel’s problems come from the fact that the public gives unlimited power to these hustlers & than walks away from supervising the political process.The people don’t want to be bothered taking care of their own future & when things go wrong,they blame the politicians!

    2. yamit82 says:

      Sources: Livni Has ‘Exclusive Rights’ to Conduct PA Talks
      Tzippy Livni has apparently been given exclusive rights to conduct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Arutz Sheva has learned

      By David Lev

      Officials of the Jewish Home party have been told that Tzippy Livni has been given exclusive rights to conduct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and to make recommendations for negotiated agreements to the Prime Minister and security cabinet. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave Livni the exclusive rights to do run negotiations on behalf of Israel as part of the price for her agreeing to include her six Knesset members in the coalition he is trying to form.

      Jewish Home officials were told of the deal after they questioned what Livni’s position and status in the government was. According to information received by Arutz Sheva, Livni will be assigned a negotiating team of Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu MKs to run the negotiations with her. However, Livni’s communications channel to the PA will be the only one Israel has; neither Netanyahu nor his future Foreign Minister will be allowed to conduct negotiations outside of her framework, the deal with Livni says.

      Political sources across a wide range of parties, both left and right, stressed that this was the first time a Prime Minister has surrendered his negotiation rights to an underling. In effect, the deal makes Livni Foreign Minister, the sources said.

      In past administrations, the concept of parallel negotiation teams was fully accepted. A parallel team not directly sponsored by the government carved out the Oslo Accords with the PA in 1993, with full knowledge of then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. During Ehud Olmert’s term, he had at least two negotiating teams working with the PA, including an official one managed by his Foreign Minister, Livni.

      Sources in Jewish Home told Arutz Sheva that the exclusivity clause given to Livni is one of the major stumbling blocks to the party’s entering a Netanyahu government. Officials in the party said last week that they could not join a coalition in which Livni was in charge of such issues.

      With that, discussions took place between Netanyahu representatives and Jewish Home MKs Sunday, and further meetings are expected in the coming days.

    3. yamit82 says:

      @ Mladen Andrijasevic:

      Whom do you trust more to handle Iran – Netanyahu or Lapid?

      Lapid

    4. Bernard Ross says:

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu changed his approach to coalition talks 180 degrees on Sunday night and unexpectedly invited Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party to join the government he is forming.

      What does this really mean? an invitation is not an agreement. he invited Bennet but bennntt is not there. To me the most interresting ddevlopmnet is livni as justic minister and pal negotiator. Is she a fig leaf or the omen of things to come. If she is primarily an opportunist then she may be a fig leaf to draw flies to honey in negotiations. If not then BB agenda becomes clear. This does not explain justice ministry.

    5. NormanF says:

      yamit82 Said:

      Sources: Livni Has ‘Exclusive Rights’ to Conduct PA Talks
      Tzippy Livni has apparently been given exclusive rights to conduct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Arutz Sheva has learned
      By David Lev
      Officials of the Jewish Home party have been told that Tzippy Livni has been given exclusive rights to conduct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and to make recommendations for negotiated agreements to the Prime Minister and security cabinet. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave Livni the exclusive rights to do run negotiations on behalf of Israel as part of the price for her agreeing to include her six Knesset members in the coalition he is trying to form.
      Jewish Home officials were told of the deal after they questioned what Livni’s position and status in the government was. According to information received by Arutz Sheva, Livni will be assigned a negotiating team of Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu MKs to run the negotiations with her. However, Livni’s communications channel to the PA will be the only one Israel has; neither Netanyahu nor his future Foreign Minister will be allowed to conduct negotiations outside of her framework, the deal with Livni says.
      Political sources across a wide range of parties, both left and right, stressed that this was the first time a Prime Minister has surrendered his negotiation rights to an underling. In effect, the deal makes Livni Foreign Minister, the sources said.
      In past administrations, the concept of parallel negotiation teams was fully accepted. A parallel team not directly sponsored by the government carved out the Oslo Accords with the PA in 1993, with full knowledge of then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. During Ehud Olmert’s term, he had at least two negotiating teams working with the PA, including an official one managed by his Foreign Minister, Livni.
      Sources in Jewish Home told Arutz Sheva that the exclusivity clause given to Livni is one of the major stumbling blocks to the party’s entering a Netanyahu government. Officials in the party said last week that they could not join a coalition in which Livni was in charge of such issues.
      With that, discussions took place between Netanyahu representatives and Jewish Home MKs Sunday, and further meetings are expected in the coming days.

      If that is report is true, it makes it highly unlikely Bayit Yehudi will join the government. Benett has his voters to answer to and they don’t approve of Netanyahu’s shenanigans and humiliation of Bennett. We could be looking at new elections by May.

    6. Bill Narvey says:

      If there is anything to be angry about, it is that the Israeli political system remains dysfunctional, that it is in the interests of Israeli politicians to preserve the political status quo as it advantages them and almost invariably leads to minority governments where the winner of most seats must go begging, wheeling and dealing for enough parties to join them so they can govern.

      Blame the Israeli public as well for they long have had to know the score in that regard and have not united to demand a political system that serves theirs and Israel’s best interests over those of the politicians.

    7. Not Ovenready says:

      Livni really does need a new party name.Something better than the Tzipi Livni Party. How about..”The Tzipers”? Sounds like a band. And according to Caroline Glick, she bangs away at the drums, too. Maybe Obama will offer her a gig to go to Washington to do drum solos for WH tourists?

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