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Lapid and Bennett Photo: Gil Yohanan
Lapid and Bennett Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

Yesh Atid wary of Netanyahu's 'political antics'

Yair Lapid's party gears for coalition negotiations, said to eye Foreign, Education and Interior portfolios. UTJ headed to opposition, vows it would be 'the most aggressive one in Knesset history'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 03.04.13, 00:28 / Israel News

After what appears to be a breakthrough in the coalition negotiations between the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi, Yesh Atid is also gearing for its turn at the negotiating table.

 

Yair Lapid's party reportedly plans to demand the Foreign Affairs portfolio, as well as keeping the cabinet to 24 ministers or under.

 

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Still, a senior member in the centrist party said that the negotiations were "far from over," adding that "Netanyahu can still hold a secret midnight meetings with Shelly Yachimovich and convince her to enter the government.

 

"The prime minister has so far made every possible mistake in these negotiations and right now he has the last chance to try and move the negotiations forward."

 

Although Yesh Atid considered foregoing the Foreign Affairs portfolio, a source privy to the negotiations said that "The situation has changed. Now we can afford to demand things that we might not have been able to eye two weeks ago. We don't owe Yisrael Beiteinu anything."

 

Yesh Atid also plans to ask for the Education or Interior portfolios. "That still has to be finalized," the source said.

 

Meanwhile, with Shas saying that unless a dramatic breakthrough takes place in the next few days it will sit in the opposition, the Knesset's other haredi party, United Torah Judaism is also coming to terms with the fact that it too will be excluded from the government.

 

The party blamed Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett for de facto forcing them out by aligning himself with Lapid, who said he will not join a coalition that includes the haredi parties.

 

Bennett's political pact, a UTJ source said, has forced Netanyahu to "veer from the way things have always been done" and turn away from his natural parties.

 

"The Knesset will find itself facing the most aggressive opposition in its history," he said. "We will fight for the real issues."

 

Moran Azulay contributed to this report

 

 

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