The Likud-Beytenu faction may look to amend its agreement with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua in a bid to bring Jewish Home and Yesh Atid into the coalition.
Last week, Hatnua became the only party thus far to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu’s nascent government, doing so on the condition that it receive two ministries and that Livni, a former foreign minister, would head negotiations with Palestinians.
But Netanyahu may revoke some of those agreements, Maariv reported Friday, in the hope of wooing the nationalist-religious Jewish Home and the centrist Yesh Atid.
Both parties, which have partnered up in coalition talks, have expressed reservations about the deal Netanyahu made with Livni, specifically regarding negotiations with the Palestinians, according to the report, which cites unnamed senior Likud sources.
Aside from the six-seat Hatnua party, Netanyahu has thus far failed to draw any factions into his coalition, though there have been reports of a near deal with Jewish Home.
The Likud-Beytenu negotiation team will meet with Jewish Home representatives on Friday morning to continue talks, but Netanyahu is still expected to turn to President Shimon Peres on Saturday night to ask for a 14-day extension to form a government.
On Thursday, Likud negotiator David Shimron said Netanyahu was still committed to forming as wide a coalition as possible, rebuffing what he said were calls by Yesh Atid to leave ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism in the opposition.
“Netanyahu does not intend to form a narrow government with [Naftali] Bennett and [Yair] Lapid,” Shimron had said prior to a meeting with Yesh Atid party officials on Thursday. “We are continuing our efforts to form a broad coalition which would include the ultra-Orthodox parties, the Jewish Home party, and we hope it would include the Yesh Atid party and Kadima as well.” Later, though, Shimron acknowledged that Yesh Atid is insisting that no Haredi parties sit in the coalition.
Earlier on Thursday, Eli Yishai, one of the political leaders of Shas, acknowledged that his party would in all probability be left out of Netanyahu’s emergent coalition. Yishai launched a blistering attack on Lapid and Bennett, saying the alliance between the two party leaders was forged solely with an eye toward harming the ultra-Orthodox community.