Unity Government Would Be 'Biggest Fraud Ever'

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) said Tuesday that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decides to establish a government in partnership with the Zionist Union - as the merged list of Labor and Hatnua is known - this would be "the greatest political fraud in the history of Israeli politics."

Shaked told Army Radio she has not been able to ascertain whether Netanyahu indeed met secretly with Labor head Yitzhak Herzog in recent days, as has been reported on Channel 1. However, she estimated that Netanyahu would not ultimately invite the Zionist Union into his government, since he would not break his promises to his voters so blatantly. She noted that before the elections, Netanyahu repeatedly vowed that he would not form a "unity government", and said that there was a chasm dividing Likud and the Zionist Union, which he went so far as to derisively call "the Anti-Zionist Union."

MK Shaked said that Netanyahu has not met Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett even once in the last three weeks. The meetings that have been held between Jewish Home and Likud negotiating teams do not deal with portfolios, she explained, but in matters of substance like legislation and the coalition's guiding principles on various issues.

Asked which portfolios the party is seeking, Shaked did not go into specifics, but did mention the Justice, Public Security and Economics Ministries as being important portfolios, along with Defense and Foreign Affairs. This could be seen as a hint that even if Netanyahu does not give Bennett the Foreign Ministry, as Bennett desires, there are other options that Bennett can live with.

Pundits have said that Bennett would be deeply insulted if Netanyahu gives Avigdor Liberman the keys to the Foreign Ministry for another term, but that he will be able to accept a situation in which neither he or Liberman get the portfolio, and it is taken by a Likud minister.

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