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With an "empty gun," Netanyahu threatens to go back to voters

February 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has threatened to go back to ballot boxes if the leaders of Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties did not agree on a coalition government in accord with his specifications, Likud-Beiteinu sources revealed on Monday.

Marathon talks with representative of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party have failed to reach an agreement for either party to join the coalition because neither of them is ready to give up basic principles of their platforms.

At the same time, Netanyahu, whose factional coalition got the high chairs in the Knesset but cannot form a government alone, is trying to form a coalition government that matches his own criteria, Israeli media reported.

However, Yesh Atid and the Jewish Home told the Likud-Beiteinu that they had formed an alliance in which either both parties join the government together or refuse together. Both parties are persistent on the conscription of the ultra-orthodox Jews into military and national services. Netanyahu is opposed to this.

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, reported that Likud-Beiteinu sources are ‘threatening’ Lapid that if he continues to be stubborn, Netanyahu will go back to the polls.

“Bennett better not tug too hard on the rope because it will snap,” the Likud-Beiteinu sources said, according to the Maariv. “Netanyahu is prepared to go to elections; the important thing is to not give in to the pact that [Bennett] has with Lapid.”

Netanyahu is trying to separate both parties from each other based on the fact that the extremist Jewish home party is a natural ally to the Likud-Beiteinu. But sources in the Jewish Home were reported by Maariv as saying: “Netanyahu has to bear in mind that religious Zionism is not the Likud’s pampered dog.”

Challenging Netanyahu, Yesh Atid sources said: “Netanyahu is threatening with an empty gun. If we went to the vote today Likud would get 12 seats because the public will punish him for not forming the most natural government with us, which is what the government should have been right from the start.”

Israeli analysts say that Netanyahu cannot be separated from his ultra-orthodox allies which strongly oppose the conscription of their sons. At the same time, he cannot form any government without either Yesh Atid or the Jewish Home.