Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said Tuesday that Israel
needs political stability and that a new agreement
with Kadima will pave the way for the broadest national unity government in Israel's history.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz,
Netanyahu said: "I was ready to go to elections. But when I learned that a very broad government can be established, the broadest in Israel's history I realized that stability can be restored. That is why I have decided to form a broad national unity government."
Netanyahu and Mofaz at the Knesset (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
His statements were briefly disrupted by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) who yelled "This is pure corruption" and "You have no shame. You have broken the shame barrier." He was escorted out of the room by stewards.
Outlining the unity government's goals, Netanyahu pointed to four objectives: "To bring a just and egalitarian alternative to the Tal Law; a responsible budget that will address the State of Israel's needs; to change the government system; and to try to promote a responsible peace process where security is maintained. "
MK Horowitz disrupts Netanyahu (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
He said that a broad national unity government is good for security, the economy, the society and the Israeli people. Netanyahu ended his statements with the words: "Shaul, welcome aboard."
Addressing the press conference, Mofaz explained his decision to join Netanyahu's government. "There are moments in a nation's life that it is called to make serious decisions. I believe that the time has come to change world orders. This is a historic move of national unity which is important for the State's future. A coalition of 94 MKs will better handle the challenges."
New partners in Instagram photo published by PM's bureau
He said that Kadima's political power can assist the government to achieve its goals. "It would have been irresponsible to say no," he noted.
Mofaz also criticized former Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni
for not joining Netanyahu's government after the last elections. "Kadima was not part of a unity government, that was a historic mistake which we are correcting." He further added, "This is the right thing to do and the right time."
He stressed the need to change the government system. "If we bring about a new government system by the end of the year, we have done enough for the State of Israel. The change will affect the State's entire way of life and decision making process. "
Asked to explain his relationship with Netanyahu, whom he had in the past called a liar, Mofaz said: "We have put that behind us."
Mofaz and Netanyahu said that the elections will be held at the original date of early November 2013.
One of the main clauses in the unity agreement signed overnight Tuesday refers to IDF enlistment. The Likud and Kadima have agreed to work towards legislating a law "that will regulate an equal and fair division of the burden among the various sectors in Israeli society."
They have pledged to do this by July 31 in accordance with a High Court of Justice ruling. The agreement stated that a team led by Kadima will draft the bill.
Kadima also received assurances regarding a change in the government system. "The parties pledge to work towards fundamentally changing Israel's government system and establishing a new system that will enhance government stability, allow the prime minister to complete his term, create ruling continuity, allow long-term planning and protection of the public welfare," the agreement states.
Moran Azulay contributed to this report