Bibi Netanyahu

Israel News for May 23, 2016

PM Holds Posts
Just because the PM has welcomed Yisrael Beiteynu into the government, moving it further to the right and providing it with a safer (67 seat) majority in the Knesset, does’t mean that he’s given up on the hope of bringing Issac Herzog and the opposition into the government too. To retain his bargaining power, the PM is holding on to his positions as Foreign Minister, Communications Minister, Economy Minister and Regional Cooperation Minister, in the event that he can use them to persuade the opposition to join his coalition.

Members of the opposition have said that there is no way they’d ever join the government, especially after Israel Beiteynu’s inclusion, but stranger things have happened in Israeli politics. So the PM continues to be the busiest man in government, and the potential for a future negotiation remains alive.

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Coalition Deadlock
The negotiations to finalize the coalition deal between Yisrael Beiteynu and the government continue, with the issue of pensions remaining unsolved.

Yisrael Beiteynu is demanding that the pensions of retired immigrants from the former Soviet Union be increased. The Finance Minister is refusing to budget the extra money for that, claiming that doing so would discriminate against the elderly who are not from the former Soviet Union.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon says that he is working to create a plan whereby all elderly in Israel would get pension increases. But Yisrael Beiteynu head Avigdor Lieberman is standing firm in his demand as a precondition for bringing his party into the government. Blackmail?

The PM called for a meeting today between the two sides to break the deadlock, but no progress was made. So the drama continues.

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PM Rejects French
In a meeting with France’s Foreign Minister in Jerusalem today, PM Netanyahu (who is also Israel’s Foreign Minister) rejected the French proposed and sponsored Middle East peace summit. The PM told the French FM that direct, face to face, talks between himself and PA leader Abbas are the only way to reach a peace agreement.

The peace conference, which is scheduled for June 3, is meant to be attended by world leaders who will try to come up with a peace plan, without the attendance of either the Palestinians or the Israelis at the conference. PA President Abbas is in favor of the conference.

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