Zionist Union Legislator Wants Party to Join Netanyahu’s Government

MK Eitan Broshi calls on Isaac Herzog’s outfit to help form a broad coalition, but Herzog rejects it.

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Isaac Herzog at Knesset ceremony marking 20th anniversary of Rabin's assassination. October 26, 2015. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

For the first time, a Zionist Union Knesset member has publicly called on his party to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

“The Zionist Union must decide whether to be satisfied with the opposition benches and submitting parliamentary questions, or whether it wants to lead the diplomatic process” with the Palestinians, MK Eitan Broshi told Haaretz.

“We have to join forces with Likud around a plan calling for two states for two peoples, designed to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Despite Broshi’s call, Herzog reiterated that he has no intention of joining a government headed by Netanyahu.

Broshi’s position has drawn the ire of certain Labor Party MKs – Labor is the senior partner in Zionist Union, a tie-up with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party. In a letter, Broshi called on Herzog to consider joining the coalition if it changed its basic guidelines and composition.

“The political map in Israel today is divided in two – those on the far right who are calling for a binational state, and those like us who think it’s possible to reach a solution in the form of two states for two peoples,” Broshi said. “The prime minster supports a two-state solution, but he can’t promote the plan with the government’s current composition.”

On Saturday night, Herzog denied that contacts were underway for the party to join the government. “It’s exhausting,” he tweeted. “Commentators are ‘reporting’ ‘unity negotiations’ and we, like a robot, must – once again – deny. In what language do you want it? Bibi should be brought down, not rescued.”

Zionist Union MKs to the left of Broshi were unhappy with his proposal. “A race to send up trial balloons in the Labor Party” was MK Itzik Shmuli’s response on Twitter. “I’m not angry at the friends of Broshi, who was the first to leap forward.”

Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir cited “the attempts of machers like Broshi, who entered the Knesset on guaranteed slots to ingratiate themselves with the right to get jobs and benefit from the pleasures of government.”

She said these efforts “at a time when Israel is in danger are contemptible and pathetic.”

“We’re here to present a governmental alternative to Israeli citizens and rescue the country’s future, not to support the rule of the right, which is destroying it,” she said.

Last week the head of the centrist Kulanu party, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, said Zionist Union should join the coalition "to help advance the economy."