Netanyahu says he’s open to forming a government with center-left parties
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Netanyahu says he’s open to forming a government with center-left parties

Prime minister says it's his rivals on the other side of the political spectrum who've dismissed the idea of joining a Likud-led coalition

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset plenum in May 2012 (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset plenum in May 2012 (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed willingness to form a broad-based coalition with center-left parties, but claimed they have negated the possibility in advance.

Netanyahu’s statements, made on Saturday in snippets of a Channel 2 interview to be broadcast in full on Monday, came after Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich rejected the possibility of joining a Likud party-led government. Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid also initially said he would not be the “fifth wheel” in a right-wing/ultra Orthodox coalition, but later called for his and other center-left parties to join Netanyahu’s government to the exclusion of far-right and religious parties.

The prime minister was responding to the latest attempt by Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni to form a bloc against Netanyahu with Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Labor, saying he was “prepared [to form] a broad coalition, but they reject it out of hand.”

When asked whether he would prefer to form a more centrist government or one including religious and far-right wing parties, he responded: “I have not yet been elected, but I very much hope to be elected. I want a broad government that would be built first and foremost on the large ruling party of Likud-Beytenu.”

Regarding the inclusion of Lapid, Yachimovich, or Livni in a future government, he said he did not dismiss the possibility — but, rather, they had dismissed the possibility of joining him.

“Whoever wants to join us will need, of course, to go in the diplomatic and economic direction that I think is responsible and proves itself,” he said.

Netanyahu conceded the possibility of appointing Livni a minister in his potential future government, but said that he alone would dictate the government’s relationship with the Palestinians. As for Yachimovich, he said her appointment to such a position would depend entirely on her.

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