Zionist Union MK dispels rumors of unity government

Zionist Union MK dispels rumors of unity government

Eitan Cabel says center-left party won’t join coalition; Kulanu representatives meet with Likud for negotiations

MK Eitan Cabel (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
MK Eitan Cabel (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A Zionist Union MK on Sunday tried to extinguish rumors of a possible unity government with the Likud party, saying his faction would lead the opposition instead.

Eitan Cabel took to Facebook, saying he was putting an end to speculations, and that “the Zionist Union is going to the opposition!”

The Zionist Union won 24 seats in the March 17 elections, whereas its rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, won 30 seats and was tapped to form a governing coalition.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nature pushes him to embrace the radical right-wing bear and a narrow government with his natural partners,” Cabel said on Facebook. “This time, just this time, I suggest believing him.”

Over the weekend, Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog also dismissed claims he would join a Netanyahu government, saying he wouldn’t be a “bleaching agent” for a Likud administration.

Negotiations between the Likud and its potential coalition partners, including Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, took place Sunday. Netanyahu’s party met with representatives from the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties as well.

According to Maariv, Kulanu’s representative said at the beginning of the party’s meeting with the Likud that “Kulanu was established in order to renew hope and give a good life to all Israeli citizens. We’re here in order to provide the tools necessary to make these things happen.”

Kahlon had boycotted the first round of exploratory meetings between Likud and other parties on Thursday, as Netanyahu officially embarked on his bid to cobble together a government.

Kahlon told party activists Sunday night that the party didn’t seek ministerial or ambassadorial posts, but demanded “the planning administration in order to plan apartments, and we requested the Israel Lands Administration in order to free up lands for a place to build.”

“We want one thing — to succeed where others failed,” Ynet quoted Kahlon saying. “The Kulanu party is the hope of hundreds of thousands of people in this country who hope we’ll ucceed where others didn’t want to succeed or failed. We must create solutions and the Kulanu party will create these solutions.”

With 10 seats of the Knesset’s 120, Kulanu is considered to be a linchpin for any coalition.

The Likud and Jewish Home representatives are set to meet Tuesday.

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