Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an urgent meeting Sunday night with Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett in an attempt to resolve the crisis in the coalition talks, this just six days before the deadline for forming the next government expires.
During the meeting, the three did not reach any agreements pertaining to the number of ministers in the cabinet or to issues regarding "equal share of the burden." No allocation of portfolios was discussed, but negotiation teams continued to deliberate after the party chairs left.
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However, it was later reported that progress had been made in the meeting and that agreements were reached on several issues. Talks are set to resume at noon.
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman also took part in the two hour meeting, which was held at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu and Lieberman met privately with Lapid and Bennett before the negotiation teams joined the discussion.
The current crisis revolves around the equal share of the burden issue. A Likud-Beiteinu source said on Sunday that Lapid reneged on an agreement that had been reached earlier in the day and that Habayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid have resumed deliberations on the matter.
Lapid arrives at PM's Residence (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Upon arrival at the meeting, Bennett said: "We are coming to form a stable government that will be good for the people of Israel. I hope we'll complete the job in the coming hours or days, God willing."
The coalition talks resumed Sunday afternoon and revolved mainly around the outline for an equal share of the burden. "At this point, the negotiations are far from being finalized. Things are progressing very slowly," a Yesh Atid source said. "Only at a later stage will we discuss the number of ministers and the allocation of portfolios."
A Likud-Beiteinu source said Habayit Hayehudi "cannot live" with the changes Yesh Atid wants to make regarding the plan for an equal share of the burden.
Noam (Dabul) Dvir contributed to the report
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