Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: AFP
Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Likud agrees to Yisrael Beiteinu's core demands

Meeting between parties' representatives results in Likud memo consenting to Avigdor Lieberman's guidelines on national loyalty, Citizenship Act, civil marriage. Both sides deem meeting a success

The Likud party sent Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman a memorandum Wednesday, in which is gives its general consent to the core principles declared in his campaign.


The move is said to be an attempt to sway Lieberman, whose party won 15 Knesset seats in last week's general elections, to endorse Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu as the candidate most likely to be able to form a coalition.


President Shimon Peres is set to begin the premiership deliberations later Wednesday. Peres will meet with representatives from all parties prior to tasking either Netanyahu or Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni with the mission.


The Likud's memorandum – phrased in very general terms – was drafted after a meeting between faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar and Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset Member Stas Misezhnikov.


"We have taken their (guideline) seriously and we expect that they will recommend the president tasks Netanyahu with forming the government," said Sa'ar


Cooperation possible

Addressing the issue of national loyalty and citizenship – Lieberman's main banner during the election campaign – the Likud said, "We believe that all Israeli citizens, let alone the country's selectmen, must profess their loyalty to the State of Israel."


As for possible future changes in Israel's Citizenship Act, "The Likud would be willing… to examine the need for further amendments."


The document went on to say that the Likud supports the general notion of instating a reform in Israel's system of government: "The Likud believed it is important to push governmental and electoral reforms and will formulate a bill to that effect."


The party also promised to push for changes in Israel's conversion system's design. The memo did, however, note that "the party shares the views expressed by Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger and head of the rabbinical courts Rabbi Shlomo Amar, stating that conversions preformed according to Jewish law must stand in all State institutions."


As for the highly controversial issue of civil marriage, "The Likud believes a proper solution must be found for the 300,000 people who immigrated to Israel over the past two decades and were deemed non-Jews according to the Halacha."


"We are pleased with the Likud's offer. We still have several reservations, but overall – things are looking good," said MK Misezhnikov after the meeting.


Sa'ar defined the meeting as "excellent," adding he believed the two parties "would be able to team under a Netanyahu-led government."


Kadima sources wondered aloud about the reports suggesting Yisrael Beiteinu and the Likud reached an agreement of sorts, saying that when the party representatives met with Livni, her answers on their core concerns were much more cohesive.


It is as if the Likud's answers, especially on matters of religion and state, were phrased by Shas, said a party source, adding that "the fact that Yisrael Beiteinu claims to have reached an agreement with the Likud is peculiar. It is some sort of a sleight of hand."


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report  


פרסום ראשון: 02.18.09, 14:51
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