Coalition chairman rejects option for unity government

Netanyahu’s coalition chairman argued that government members were giving the finance minister an incentive not to negotiate over disagreements with the PM. 

Member of Knesset (MK) David Bitan, chairman of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, said that there was no chance that the ruling Likud party will invite the Zionist Union faction into the government, despite recent concerns that the government could fall apart.

“There is no chance of unity with the Zionist Union,” Bitan told Israel Army Radio.

Bitan’s remark was in response to a suggestion by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) on the radio program to expand the coalition in order to make up for the potential loss of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party.

Kahlon recently butted heads with Netanyahu over the prime minister’s decision to retract from a commitment to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority with the new Israel Broadcasting Corporation. Kulanu is large enough as a party to make or break the coalition’s majority in the Knesset, but not if Netanyahu expands his coalition, particularly with the Zionist Union, which is the largest faction in the opposition.

Bitan also accused ministers in the government, including some within Likud, of providing an incentive for Kahlon not to compromise over the public broadcasting dispute.

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“The moment you give a tailwind to Kahlon and…tell him not to compromise because there is no alternative to elections, at that moment Kahlon will not rush to create a compromise,” Bitan argued.

“What the ultra-Orthodox and also Likud ministers in the coalition are doing is actually giving the green light to Kahlon not to compromise and not to reach agreements with the prime minister,” he said.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News