Trying to appease. Netanyahu
Photo: Reuters
Will not get all his demands. Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Netanyahu, Lieberman meet in 'high spirits'

Prime Minister's Office says two-hour tête-à-tête with foreign minister was 'positive' despite growing tensions over conversion bill, biennial budget; Lieberman says his party will not leave coalition, but demands must be met

In an effort to calm mounting tensions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Monday night at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.


After a private two-hour meeting, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying, "The meeting was held in positive spirits, in order to bolster their cooperation on all matters."


Netanyahu and Lieberman attempted to reach an understanding following last week's disagreement surrounding the biennial budget and the conversion bill.

Lieberman arrives at PM's house (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


According to estimates, the two will reach an agreement though Lieberman is fully aware that not all of his demands – which include billions of shekels allocated to ministries under his party members' control – will be met.


During a press conference on Monday, Lieberman called the budget meeting a "planned political ambush." He reiterated that his party "has no intention of quitting the government," but emphasized that they do not intend to give up their demands.


The foreign minister recounted his conversations with Netanyahu. "I spoke with him on Saturday night and yesterday. I don’t understand the Finance Ministry's stubbornness over issues such as these reforms," he said.


Lieberman added that his party will do everything in its power to maintain the coalition in its current makeup until 2013.


The foreign minister reminded the journalists that Yisrael Beiteinu was the first party to sign the coalition agreement, and the only one that objected to the minimum wage bill, as requested by Netanyahu.


"It's inconceivable that we are the first to establish the coalition, and the only ones supporting the PM on the minimum wage bill, but the last ones when it comes to the budget," he added.


Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu decisively said he had no intention of passing the conversion law – due to pressures from reformist and conservative American Jews.



פרסום ראשון: 07.20.10, 00:39
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