Likud officials: Netanyahu wants Bennett in government
Senior ruling party official says despite 'smear campaign,' PM wants broad
coalition that includes Habayit Hayehudi
Yuval Karni Published: 01.27.13, 17:14 / Israel News
[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: When one considers that the negative element of
the Likud election campaign focused on throwing mud at Bayit Yehud - with
the clear understanding from the pollsters that this move could cause a
shift of votes from Bayit Yehudi (national camp) to Lapid (analysts puzzled
over why there were voters who were deciding between the two parties - but
their existence was repeatedly verified by independent polls) one can only
think of the phrase "al rosh haganav boer hakova".
Incidentally, it is indeed true that just as Liberman intends to have
Yisrael Beiteinu - a party that long ago expanded its horizons beyond the
Russian immigrant community - ultimately replace Likud as the leading party
in the national camp, Bennett makes no bones that he also see Bayit Yehudi
becoming the top national camp party. As for competing against Netanyahu to
be PM in the next elections, Lapid has already said for the record that
that's what he has in mind. ]
Senior Likud officials who are familiar with the coalition negotiations
leveled harsh criticism on Sunday at the Habayit Hayehudi party and its
chairman Naftali Bennett, accusing him of coordinating a smear campaign
against Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite Bennett's conduct, they said, the prime
minister still plans to include Habayit Hayehudi in the next government.
"Despite the incessant mudslinging, which continues even after the election
campaign has ended, Prime Minister Netanyahu plans to form the broadest
coalition possible to deal with the internal and external security
challenges the State of Israel is facing," one Likud official said. "Such a
broad government will include Habayit Hayehudi."
Earlier, Netanyahu linked the coalition talks to regional threats. "There
are numerous threats here, and the reality continues to develop in the east,
north and south," he told a cabinet meeting.
"We must be prepared, strong and determined in the face of any threat. To
this end I will strive to form the broadest and most stable government
possible that will, first and foremost, be able to deal with security
On Saturday a Likud official who is affiliated with the ruling party's
rightist bloc said, "It would be a mistake to turn our backs on Bennett and
leave him out of the government, particularly when the reason (for the rift)
is the friction between him and Sara Netanyahu.
"This isn't a good enough reason to hang him out to dry," the official
added, noting that the two parties share ideological similarities. "We can
form a coalition with Bennett, (Yair) Lapid and the ultra-Orthodox parties."
Some members of the right-wing ruling party, however, cast doubt on
Bennett's true political agenda.
"Bennett's goals extend beyond leading the religious sector into taking over
the entire Right," a senior official said. "During the campaign, he gave
Netanyahu a bear hug while continuing to attack him. He now wants to join
the coalition not in order to take care of the Religious Zionist movement
but to undercut Netanyahu from within the government."
Bennett and Netanyahu have yet to schedule a meeting between them.
Yuval Karni is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent