Habayit Hayehudi MKs say they want to start afresh with Likud

Habayit Hayehudi MKs say that if Bennett keeps us out of coalition, he will have no more support, & that the main goal of coalition talks should be joining the gov’t, with or without Yesh Atid.

By Mati Tuchfeld & Yehuda Shlezinger


Some Habayit Hayehudi MKs have called on their party leader Naftali Bennett and Likud-Beytenu officials to put aside past inter-party rivalries and conduct “serious coalition negotiations.”

Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett. – Photo: Yakov Felbergaum

These Habayit Hayehudi MKs emphasized that they still trusted Bennett to manage the coalition talks, but said that the main goal of these talks should be to join the government, “with or without [Yesh Atid leader] Yair Lapid.”

“It was appropriate for Bennett to flex his muscles against [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu by means of the alliance with Yesh Atid, because Likud was taking Habayit Hayehudi for granted, and the alliance with Lapid made [Habayit Hayehudi] desirable and sought-after,” one Habayit Hayehudi MK said.

“It seems that both Likud and us have not internalized after the election that the campaigning has ended and that we must now hold serious negotiations,” the same MK said. “Instead of this, we are engaging in mutual bickering.”

A Habayit Hayehudi MK expressed concern that the party would ultimately be left outside the coalition.

“After all the sides make their point, we must conduct coalition negotiations, before the Labor party or parts of it join [the coalition] and make Habayit Hayehudi irrelevant,” a Habayit Hayehudi MK said. “Habayit Hayehudi cannot remain outside the coalition. If that is where Bennett is leading us, he will have no support. It is reasonable to assume that he also understands that the goal is to receive the highest price to enter the government, and that this must be done now before it is too late.”

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, No. 4 on the Habayit Hayehudi list, expressed support on Sunday for entering a government with the haredi parties.

“We very much want the government to include both Lapid and our haredi brothers,” Ben-Dahan said. “We see ourselves as being able to bridge these extreme positions.”

MK Aryeh Deri from Shas met with Bennett on Sunday in an attempt to break the Habayit Hayehudi leader’s alliance with Lapid. It is believed that Deri tried to convince Bennett to join a coalition with the haredim, even if Lapid chooses not to enter the coalition.

Likud-Beytenu officials said that efforts are being made to establish the broadest coalition possible that would include more than just the 61 MKs of the rightist-religious bloc. While it appears that Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich remains far from agreeing to join the coalition, the coming days could see a significant development in coalition talks with Hatnuah’s Tzipi Livni. Livni’s party could be the first to agree to join the government. If Hatnuah and Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima party join the government and Bennett continues to refuse, it is expected that Netanyahu would then sign coalition deals with the haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Former Kadima MK Haim Ramon, one of the founders of Hatnuah, attacked the Bennett-Lapid alliance on Sunday, calling it “incomprehensible.”

Meanwhile, Bennett was set to visit two prestigious yeshivas on Monday. The haredi news website Kikar Hashabbat reported that the haredi parties hope the visits influence Bennett to ditch his alliance with Lapid.

View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=7419