Channels

Photo: GPO
Rivlin asking Netanyahu to form the next government, at ceremony last month
Photo: GPO
Facing political deadlock, Netanyahu gets more time to build coalition
While agreements with religious parties seem close to being signed, Likud is finding it harder to settle matters with Bennett and Lieberman.
With little sign of any imminent coalition agreement, President Reuven Rivlin agreed Monday to give Benjamin Netanyahu until May 7 to put together a government. This is supposedly allow the negotiating teams from the various parties to close the gaps on the allocation of portfolios - and the basic guidelines of the government.

 

 

Likud negotiators have in recent days drafted a list of the agreements that they have reached with the ultra-Orthodox factions and the Kulanu party who are expected to make up part of the government. Netanyahu was to present this list to Rivlin when he sought the extension, to which he is entitled by law.

 

The negotiations with the Haredi parties have been relatively pain-free, and most of the understandings with them reached. Inside Likud, however, they are waiting to reach agreements with the rest of the coalition partners before putting pen to paper with the religious parties.

 

Netanyahu at a government meeting this month (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Haaretz)
Netanyahu at a government meeting this month (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Haaretz)

 

Meanwhile, talks with other parties have run less smoothly. Negotiators from Netanyahu's party have clashed with counterparts from Bayit Yehudi, which is demanding not only a senior ministry for leader Naftali Bennett, but also a ministerial position for party number 2 Ayelet Shaked. Bayit Yehudi, which won a disappointing eight seats in the new Knesset, is also demanding that the Religious Affairs Ministry is not given to the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party Shas.

 

"Unilaterally taking the religious affairs portfolio from religious Zionism, and handed to Shas is the end of negotiations with Bayit Yehudi," Bennett wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening.

 

ources in Bayit Yehudi said Sunday that the only compromise the party would accept was a rotation of the ministry or for a member of Likud to be appointed as minister. Shas and Bayit Yehudi clashed frequently in the last Knesset over the reforms regarding religion and state, and Bayit Yehudi is trying to prevent Shas from taking control of the issue.

 

Meanwhile, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu party is making even greater demands. A meeting between Netanyahu and Lieberman on Friday failed to close the gaps between the sides, and Lieberman has yet to present his ministerial demands, suspecting that the Likud has made unbreakable promises t the religious parties.

 

Ministries aside, Lieberman is adamant on keeping the "Sharing the Burden" law, which calls for the religious to perform some form of national service, as well reforms to the process of converting to Judaism and to the system of marriage registration, which would allow couples to choose the rabbi performing the wedding ceremony.

 

The Haredi parties want all of this legislation to be overturned, and according to sources within the sector, Netanyahu has promised that at least some of the reforms will go.

 

Yisrael Beytenu, whose electorate is mainly from the so-called secular "Russian sector", has made it clear that it has no problem going into opposition in such a situation. The party also said that the Foreign Ministry portfolio would not be compensation enough in this instance. In order to go forward, the party said, it would need to see the agreements reached with the Haredi factions.

 

 

 

 


First published: 20.04.15, 08:41
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Facing political deadlock, Netanyahu gets more time to build coalition"
Warning:
This will delete your current comment