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Israel far-right parties settle dispute that threatened coalition talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with President Reuven Rivlin at the latter's residence in Jerusalem on 17 April 2019. [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with President Reuven Rivlin at the latter's residence in Jerusalem on 17 April 2019. [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images]

A disagreement between the heads of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Rafi Peretz and Bezalel Smotrich, has been settled, reported Haaretz, resolving a potential obstacle to the formation of a Benjamin Netanyahu-led coalition government.

The dispute centred over Smotrich’s demands as part of the coalition, including that “Netanyahu be granted immunity from prosecution in the corruption cases against him”, the paper stated.

According to Haaretz, “Smotrich also wanted a law to curb the powers of the state comptroller; the comptroller would be barred from intervening in ongoing events and would only be allowed to report findings and recommendations after the fact.”

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Peretz – a former Israeli military chief rabbi – has now “announced that the tensions between the heads of the main two parties in the alliance – Habayit Hayehudi and National Union – are now settled after Smotrich promised better coordination beforehand.”

The paper reported “sources close to both sides” who claimed that “the matter was blown out of proportion because of the interests of politicians in both parties”, and that ultimately “the alliance was not under threat”.

For his part, “Smotrich said Tuesday the attempts to split the alliance did not come from people close to Peretz and are meant to weaken the alliance in the coalition talks.”

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