JERUSALEM -- After being officially asked to form Israel’s next government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday said he would try to put together as broad a coalition as possible to cope with the country’s domestic and international challenges.Yep, as expected, the LAT couldn't resist bringing up the MSM's obsession with the war process. What matters now is Iran's nuclear menace.
Netanyahu won the endorsement of 82 newly elected lawmakers to form a coalition government following the Jan. 22 election. In accordance with Israeli law, he will have the next three weeks to put together a majority coalition in the 120-member parliament.
The prime minister said his top priorities would be confronting Iran’s nuclear development program, which Western governments believed is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, and restarting Palestinian peace talks. He also faces a $10-billion budget deficit.
Though Netanyahu did not mention Israel’s airstrike last week against a Syrian weapons convoy near Damascus, he cited the challenges of the region’s instability.Exactly. That too is a real concern now. Netanyahu also called on all factions to join the new coalition:
"We will also have to deal with other lethal weapons which are building up in our area and with threats against our cities and our citizens," he said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on all factions in the 19th Knesset to join a unity government, after accepting President Shimon Peres' invitation to form the coalition on Saturday night.Unfortunately, Shas isn't being very cooperative:
Netanyahu called on leaders of parties that announced they would not sit in his government to reconsider and stressed the need to form the broadest coalition possible in order to deal with issues the State of Israel is facing, both domestically and internationally.
"We have to put aside what divides us so that we can have peace among ourselves and with our neighbors," he said.
Joint Shas leader Eli Yishai said on Saturday night that he feels Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prefers to form a new government without Shas.What about Iran and Ahmedinejad? Has he ever given some thought to their desire to destroy Israel, human lives, Torah scrolls and all? What a disgrace Yishai is being.
Speaking on Channel 2, Yishai estimated that there was just a thirty percent chance of Shas joining the next coalition and accused Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid of seeking to “divide the nation and wanting to destroy the world of Torah.”
But speaking at the ceremony in which President Shimon Peres authorized him to begin forming a government, Netanyahu echoed the language of the haredi parties regarding the central issue of haredi national service enlistment.Why doesn't Yosef comprehend that the only divide is the one he's causing, by keeping up the vehement opposition to army service and employment?
The prime minister said that it was important to “significantly increase the share of the burden [of national service],” but that it must be done in a “responsible manner that will bring real change without dividing the nation and causing a civil war.”
Haredi political and rabbinic leaders frequently speak of a compromise on the issue in these terms, usually with the implication that mandating universal enlistment to include full-time yeshiva students would be unacceptable to them.
On Thursday, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef wrote a letter to President Shimon Peres asking him to act as a mediator between the two opposing sides of the haredi enlistment issue.
“I am turning to you with a personal request to use your influence and position to unit the nation and prevent a serious divide in the Jewish people, God forbid, Yosef wrote in his letter to the president.
Shas and United Torah Judaism remain opposed to any plan which would set quotas on the number of haredi men able to receive national service exemptions for full-time yeshiva study, but have indicated a degree of flexibility in recent days.If they really want to be part of this coalition, they'd do well to cooperate, and to start setting better examples. Even if they don't serve in the army per se, they could still at least get jobs.