Kristine L Ming

Rivlin urges Netanyahu to expedite forming coalition

President Reuven Rivlin pleaded with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday to complete the negotiations required to form a new government as soon as possible.

Speaking ahead of the swearing-in of the new Knesset, Rivlin said the outgoing government was limited in its ability to serve the public and the new one needed to start working.

“As long as a government has not been sworn in by this Knesset, the mission has not ended,” Rivlin told the MKs. “The public is suffering from this paralysis. Please complete the negotiations quickly, because the public is paying a heavy price day by day. Let us enable the government to return to function.”

Netanyahu responded shortly thereafter in a speech at the Knesset, saying that his door is open to all the parties that were elected to the parliament on March 17.  His associates revealed that he met with Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman Monday
Likud MK Yariv Levin, a member of the party’s negotiating team, said a meeting with representatives of Bayit Yehudi Tuesday morning went surprisingly well and made progress. He said negotiations with Shas and United Torah Judaism were going at a good pace but there were still disputes over portfolios with Yisrael Beytenu and Bayit Yehudi.

“There are no longer big gaps,” Levin said. “It is not impossible to bridge the gaps but we will have to be creative. I hope we will be able to start completing agreements soon after the Passover holiday.”

Shas officials said they would not give in on their demand to receive the entire Interior portfolio, including its Building Planning Committee that has been requested by Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon for his party.
“We have the same goals as Kahlon,” a Shas official said. “We will work with him but we won’t give into him. The Planning Committee is half the ministry.”

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky became the latest Likud figure to call for a national unity government of Likud and Zionist Union in a meeting with Jerusalem Post editors and writers Tuesday. Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog rejected the idea.
“We will lead a smart, united, fighting opposition against the extreme right-wing government and those who during the campaign lied and smeared us as Israel haters,” Herzog wrote on Facebook. “We will provide a strong alternative.”

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