Opposition Lawmakers Doubt Herzog Will Join Netanyahu’s Coalition

Herzog hasn't explicitly ruled out joining coalition, and is keeping talks on the matter from his colleagues. Herzog 'knows full well that there is a hard core of MKs in the party who will not allow this maneuver,' Zionist Union lawmaker says.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuCredit: Marc Israel Salem and Moti Milrod
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

There is a growing feeling in the opposition that Zionist Union is unlikely to join the coalition, although some of the faction’s MKs said they did not believe chairman Isaac Herzog would stop trying.

The fact that Herzog has not explicitly ruled out joining the coalition in this term under any circumstances, coupled with his keeping talks on the matter from his faction colleagues, are contributing to the feeling that Herzog has still not abandoned the idea.

“I call on Herzog to start acting like the chairman of the opposition and announce clearly that he has not given up on the possibility of replacing the government and that he will not join a right-wing government,” Meretz chairwoman Zahava Galon said Wednesday at a meeting with students at Tel Hai Academic College.

Talks between Herzog and Netanyahu stopped a few weeks ago, without agreement, just before the police investigation of Herzog for breach of election laws was made public.

A Zionist Union MK said Herzog “knows full well that there is a hard core of MKs in the party who will not allow this maneuver.”

A source close to Herzog said in response: “We really don’t need a grade from Zahava Galon. Herzog is chairman of the opposition and is preparing Zionist Union to take over the government and the premiership in the future.”

When coalition party Habayit Hayehudi learned recently the Justice Ministry portfolio, which the party holds, was one of the portfolios discussed during the Netanyahu-Herzog talks, party leader Naftali Bennett warned: “If they take away the justice portfolio, we’re out.” Bennett’s fellow faction member Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel wrote on his Facebook page, addressing Herzog: “If you really want ‘to stop’ the right, why are you crawling toward the government again?”

A source in Zionist Union said in response to Bennett’s comment: “If we go into the coalition and take the justice portfolio, Habayit Hayehudi resigns from the coalition even if Bibi didn’t intend it.”

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