After the Jewish Home party fought to bring Likud-Beytenu closer to Yesh Atid’s position on the universal draft issue, it seems Yesh Atid plans on returning the favor: Yair Lapid’s party has come out against Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition agreement with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, echoing objections raised by Naftali Bennett of Jewish Home, Maariv reported on Wednesday.
Senior Yesh Atid officials reportedly said Tuesday that if Netanyahu wanted them to join the coalition, he would have to make substantial emendations to his deal with Livni.
“The current agreement directly contradicts Yesh Atid’s position on the number of ministers to serve in the government,” the officialsexplained. They added that the fact that Livni had yet to name the second party member to serve as a minister was proof that she wasn’t sure her party would actually receive a second cabinet portfolio. They also stated that if Lapid became foreign minister, Livni would not — as promised her by Netanyahu — oversee negotiations with the Palestinians.
Hatnua last week signed a coalition agreement giving it control of the Justice and Environmental Protection ministries, and Livni a key role in negotiations with the Palestinians.
Teams from Jewish Home and Likud were set to resume coalition talks on Wednesday.
Bennett confirmed Tuesday that there was progress in talks, saying that negotiations “have finally begun to deal with essence” — the policies that would guide the government. “This is good news,” he said.
Maariv also reported a new, no-holds-barred effort by Likud to circumvent the Jewish Home-Yesh Atid alliance by luring Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor Party into the coalition. Netanyahu reportedly offered Labor both the Finance Ministry and the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry, the two top economic portfolios, with an extra promise to back veteran MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer as the coalition’s candidate to succeed Shimon Peres as president.
Yachimovich has consistently rejected offers to join the coalition, citing insurmountable ideological differences on economic policy between herself and Netanyahu.