Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
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Photo: Gil Yohanan
Shas' leaders
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Religious parties on edge ahead of coalition talks

Initial overtures meant to facilitate smooth formation of coalition said to be underway; equal distribution of burden poised to be key issue

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to officially launch the coalition negotiations, but various overtures have already been made behind the scenes, Ynet learned Wednesday.


Senior sources in the Likud and in Shas hedged that Netanyahu would like to see Yesh Atid, Shas and United Torah Judaism become part of the new government and that initial overtures had focused on what could potentially be the biggest bone of contention – the demand for the equal distribution of the social burden.


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Sources close to Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said that "This bill is a prerequisite for us and it will have to be enacted immediately. Without it we will not enter the government."


A Shas source confirmed that prelude talks had taken place, "In an effort to outline the issues and see what we can and cannot live with. We want to work out our red lines before this process begins… At the end of the day, we may be able to carve out something we can live with – even if we can't vote on it."


The issue of equal distribution of burden, which focuses largely on the haredi draft into the IDF and the ultra-Orthodox' sector's incorporation into the workforce, is likely to be one of the most complex issues of the coalition talks.


Political sources said it is likely that Shas the United Torah Judaism will join forces on the matter as means of reaching a "tolerable" solution.


Likud sources added that Netanyahu also has to decide how to pursue diplomatic avenues vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority, especially since the White House has already stated that it expects the new Israeli government to do so.


"Netanyahu knows that he can't keep butting heads with President Obama," a Likud source said. "Something will have to happen in that sense, and it means that Netanyahu will have to decide who he wants with him in the coalition – Labor, Hatnua or Habayit Hayehudi."


Akiva Novick contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 01.24.13, 00:39
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