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Coalition or opposition Photo: Binyamin Regional Council
Coalition or opposition Photo: Binyamin Regional Council
 
 

Habayit Hayehudi, Yesh Atid gear for coalition talks

Political considerations may outweigh personal ones as rightist, centrist parties plant to meet in attempt to coordinate positions ahead of coalitional negotiations

Ynet
Published: 01.28.13, 15:23 / Israel News

The efforts made to create a joint haredi bloc are expected to spark cooperation on the opposite side of the political spectrum – between Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi.

 

Sources close to Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett told Yedioth Ahronoth Monday that the two are likely to meet in the upcoming days in order to assess the option of coordinating stances ahead of the coalitional negotiations.

 

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According to one of the sources, Lapid and Bennet are likely to see eye-to-eye on most issues. "The coordination between them will put the pressure on (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu."

 

"With that said, Lapid may have a problem because during the election campaign, he attacked Bennett and the extreme positions presented in his platform.

 

"He will have difficulty explaining this collaboration to the Center-Left voters. On the other hand, if he can "better his position vis-à-vis Netanyahu because of Bennett, there is no doubt this will help him explain this better."

 


יש עתיד לבית היהודי? לפיד ובנט בפגישתם ב-2010 (צילום: דוברות בנימין)

Lapid, Bennett in 2010 (Photo: Binyamin Regional Council)

 

Meanwhile, the strain on the relationship between Bennett and the prime minister has been eased.

 

Following the vilification, tension and proverbial black cat that has walked between them, Likud senior officials well-versed in the coalitional endeavors said that Netanyahu wants to see Habayit Hayehudi in the government he is expected to form.

 

"The prime minister will continue to act according to practical measures, and his intention is to form the widest possible government," explained the sources. "A wide government of this kind will include Habayit Hayehudi."

 

A source in Bennett's party sardonically noted that at the end of the day, political considerations will outweigh personal ones.

 

"Bibi loves Sara and listens to her, but he loves ruling even more," said the source.

 

The MK-to be Ayelet Shaked, with whom Sara Netanyahu also bickered, said on Sunday during a discussion with political sources that "we estimate that at the end we will be in the coalition."

 

Bad blood

In recent days, tensions have risen between Bennett and Shaked and between the Netanyahu duo. Sources in both parties claim that Sara Netanayahu is working to foil the inclusion of Bennett in the coalition due to the bad blood between them.

 

Channel 2 reported on Sunday an additional report serving as a testament to the deep rift between the Netanyahus and Bennett.

 

According to the report, in 2009, Bennett was required to undergo a polygraph to prove that he did not leak material that reached him in the framework of his chief-of-staff position in Netanyahu's office, while the latter served as opposition head. Bennett, as reported, proved clean in the lie detection test.

 

Tensions have also been eased on a whole other coalitional front: Shas versus Yesh Atid.

 

In a gathering held by Shas on Sunday, the party leaders clarified that they will agree to significantly ease their stance regarding ultra-Orthodox enlistment into the IDF.

 

"We are willing to go to far-reaching places for cooperation," said Aryeh Deri. "It is not in order to enter the government, I have no problem being in the opposition and we have already been there. But national unity is what is important to us. It is important to us that the large budgetary cuts, equal share of the burden and Jewish character of the State will be done via communication and not compulsion."

 

Bennet, Shaked vs. Sara Netanyahu

What is the background to the personal conflict between Naftali Bennet and Ayalet Shaked and Sara Netanyahu? Why did the people closest to Netanyahu while he was in office as oppositional chairman, later become bitter enemies and detested in his home? The rivalry dates five years back to 2008.

 

On March 10, 2008 Yedioth Ahronoth's headline dealt with a research report on the surprising departure of two of Netanyahu's then-senior officials: Chief of Staff Bennett and office manager Shaked.

 

The report uncovered that Netanyahu paid part of the two's salary out of pocket, after having difficulty finding the financial resources to pay the multitude of advisors surrounding him.

 

In at least one instance, the payment was made in a problematic fashion, without a pay slip or an invoice. Netanyahu paid his foreign relations director Odelia Carmon in a similar manner.

 

Throughout that entire period, Sara Netanyahu did not know about the financial arrangement and when she discovered it, replied irately. This is the dramatic turning point in the already shaky relations caused by the Sara's interference in Bennett and Shaked's work.

 

In December 2006, a loaded meeting was held between the Netanyahus and Bennett and Shaked.

According to reports, Sara harshly criticized Bennett and Shaked for taking money from her husband's personal pocket.

 

She notified them that they must return all the money they received in this manner.

 

One of the people present at that meeting attested saying "Sara Netanyahu called the advisors in for a meeting in Bibi's presence. Bibi sat there uneasily. His overall intentions were good."

 

Bennett and Shaked responded then to the report and never denied itsfindings. Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in response that everything was conducted legally and asked "to let my wife and family be."

 

Yedioth Ahronot reporters contributed to this report

 

 

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