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Is Netanyahu ready to join forces with opposition leader?

According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a year and a half of negotiating with Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog the possibility of a unity government, the time might have come for this to happen.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Isaac Herzog, co-leader of the Zionist Union party, are pictured together as campaign billboards rotate in Tel Aviv, March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo - RTSEUAF
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The secret contacts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with opposition chairman Isaac Herzog on his joining the government with his Zionist Camp Knesset faction began immediately following the last elections in March 2015, and have been going on since. Both sides are interested. Netanyahu has been a caretaker foreign minister, saving the job for Herzog. Nonetheless, time after time these contacts end in bitter disappointment for Herzog, who is careful to deny their existence. The most recent report emerged last month, when Channel 2 disclosed that a secret meeting had taken place between the two men at Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea. That reported meeting was also denied, but Herzog seems to have finally understood that the window of opportunity for joining the Netanyahu government is gradually closing.

On Sept. 27, a day after his return from the United States, Netanyahu convened a meeting of the governing coalition’s Knesset factions to deliver routine updates and coordinate positions among the six parties on various issues ahead of the looming Knesset budget votes. Present were the chairman of the Kulanu Party, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon; Shas Party chairman, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri; and Yahadut HaTorah Party chairman, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman. The heads of Netanyahu’s two other government partners — Yisrael Beitenu Party chairman, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and HaBayit HaYehudi Party chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, were absent.

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