Unity deal draws mixture of disgust and delight (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV, JPOST.COM STAFF 05/08/12)
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The surprising unity deal struck by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and Kadima chair Shaul Mofaz on Monday night, triggered an onslaught
of reactions from all sides of the spectrum.
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich declared Monday night that her party
would lead the opposition with "energy and with faith."
"We have been given a rare and important opportunity to head the
opposition," she said.
"It is a covenant of cowards between Netanyahu and Mofaz," Yacimovich
said of the agreement, which was announced late Monday night just as
a bill to dissolve the Knesset was headed to the plenum for its final
"This is the most ridiculous, disgusting zigzag in Israeli political
history," she charged.
Labor MK Isaac Herzog said the unity government gave Labor a prime
opportunity to lead the nation as the main opposition party. Speaking
with Israel Radio, Herzog said he was confident that Labor could now
win in elections in 2013.
Yair Lapid - whose just-founded Yesh Atid Party was seen as a chief
rival against the centrist Kadima - also slammed the unity government
proposal, calling the new coalition a "disgusting political
"What you saw today are the old politics, dim and ugly, of which we
should rid ourselves," Lapid wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday
morning. "It is a politics of chairs instead of principles, of jobs
instead of the public´s welfare, of one group´s interests instead of
those of the entire country."
"They think we will forget but they are wrong," he continued. "This
disgusting political alliance will bury beneath it all its members."
The deal will keep Lapid´s party out of the Knesset until the next
round of elections.
Some in Likud also opposed the deal, which will see the Kadima party
gain ministerial positions in the government and head a committee
tasked with approving an alternative for the contentious Tal Law.
Likud MK Danny Danon said the deal betrays his party´s voters.
"Likud´s values have been violated," he charged. "And so has the
public that voted for Likud and got Kadima and [Defense Minister
Danon complained that the move will embolden the defense
minister "for the next year and a half."
"[The agreement] will damage the settlement movement, cause injury to
Likud´s values and to the Israeli public that elected Likud to lead
Israel," he said.
Coalition head Ze´ev Elkin countered Danon, however, saying "no Likud
values have been sacrificed. The deal on the Tal Law can be reached
with haredim. Only a unity government can bring a solution on the Tal
Law, and the government system," two items Kadima has been tasked
with tackling as part of the coalition.
Education Minister Gideon Sa´ar told reporters after the announcement
that there was no need for early elections anymore. "The deal will
bring political stability and help Israel deal with the coming
security and economic challenges," he said.
"I don´t care that we´re saving Kadima. We are killing Lapid and
Livni," Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said, referring
to the Yesh Atid leader and Tzipi Livni, who lost the Kadima party
chair to Mofaz in primary elections last month.
Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres called Mofaz from Canada to
congratulate him on the move, telling he that he "has done a great
Expressing a similar sentiment, "Yesh Sikui” (“There is a Chance”)
chairman and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan met with Mofaz, and
promised to help the new unity government change the government
During their meeting Dagan presented a bill drafted by his Yesh Sikui
movement, including calls to raise the electoral threshold from 2% to
3%, and to reduce the number of ministers to 16.
"I am pleased that Kadima´s entry into the government is based on the
condition that the government system will change," he said.
Shas leader Eli Yishai said he was aware of the deal all along. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/08/12)
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