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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Watch Netanyahu pull a rabbit out of his hat?

Israel HaYom, the Adelson-owned free daily newspaper that is close to Prime Minister Netanyahu, is reporting that the Prime Minister may be about to pull a rabbit out of his hat in the coalition negotiations. The rabbit is named Shelly Yacimovich.

But not everyone shares these assessments. The haredi newspaper "Mishpacha" reported on Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his coalition negotiating team to make huge efforts to bring Labor's Shelly Yachimovich into his coalition. "Hamishpacha" reported that Netanyahu told Yachimovich that she had until the end of this week to present her positions for entering the government, and that the Labor party chairwoman is apparently drawing up such a document. Should Yechimovich enter the government, Netanyahu could form a government with Labor [15], the haredi parties [18], Tzippi Livni's Hatnuah [6], Kadima [2] as well as the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list [31], to give him 72 Knesset seats. With that, Netanyahu could leave both Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi out of the government.

According to the paper, Netanyahu told the three heads of the Shas party at a meeting on Sunday that "I am meeting with you for one purpose, and that is to get your help in getting Yechimovich into the coalition."

Nevertheless, Netanyahu and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett met on Sunday amid inter-party tensions that have mired the most recent coalition negotiations. Both the prime minister and the Habayit Hayehudi chairman, who have often been described as at odds for personal and political reasons, described the meeting as "pleasant and practical."

Bennett has requested the Finance Ministry portfolio, while Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid will likely insist on becoming the next foreign minister.

Habayit Hayehudi did not disclose the details of the meeting.
Netanyahu has a pact with Avigdor Lieberman that he will hold the Foreign Ministry for the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman until the latter's legal problems are resolved. Will he give the ministry to Lapid anyway? Not if he has another alternative.

In the meantime, the Haredi daily Yated Neeman (Hebrew edition) reports in Tuesday's editions on a threat by the Degel HaTorah faction of United Torah Judaism to expose where the billions really go if the yeshivas are harmed by the new government. They are in a position to make a credible threat like that. Degel MK Moshe Gafni has been the chair of the Knesset Finance Committee for some time now.  It is widely believed that among those billions are some of the smaller 'outposts' in Judea and Samaria. However, the billions also likely include several pet projects of the Left. After all, 'socialism' is still not a dirty word in this country.

So watch Netanyahu pull a rabbit out of his hat, but remember that Trix are for kids... and sometimes for silly rabbits.

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