Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday hosted Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich for coalition talks at his official residence, but Yachimovich reiterated her insistence that Labor would not join a Netanyahu government.
Yachimovich said that although her chat with Netanyahu was positive, the disparity between their respective views prevented Labor from joining a Netanyahu-led coalition.
Likud sources quoted by Haaretz noted that Netanyahu was interested in forming an alternative coalition constellation with Labor and the ultra-Orthodox in order to weaken the bargaining positions of Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) in coalition talks. According to the sources, Netanyahu is interested in “luring Yachimovich in with the Finance Ministry portfolio dear to her heart.”
Earlier this week, Yachimovich restated her opposition to the possibility of joining Netanyahu’s government, even if she were offered the Treasury job.
“We have a huge commitment to our community, to be their mouth piece and to be faithful to our way,” said Yachimovich. “We will do everything we can to meet those expectations.”
The centrist Yesh Atid and Orthodox-hardline Jewish Home parties make for improbable allies, but both are intent on legislating to ensure ultra-Orthodox conscription, and Lapid and Bennett have reached an understanding to coordinate their terms for joining the government. That stance is complicating Netanyahu’s efforts to build a coalition.