A meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Beytenu head Avigdor Lieberman hes ended in a stalemate, leaving the formation of a new government still hanging in the air more than two weeks after a second parliamentary election in less than six months.
“No breakthrough was achieved,” the Likud party said in a statement following the meeting, which was said to have lasted less than an hour.
Since both sides had insisted beforehand that they would not budge from their respective positions in the negotiations, the fact that no compromise was reached was not considered a surprise.
Netanyahu is standing firm that the entire right-wing bloc has to be part of a unity government, which includes the Haredi Orthodox and national religious parties. Lieberman, for his part, totally rejects including the ultra-Orthodox religious and “messianic” parties, as he calls Yemina, in the grand coalition he envisions with the Likud, Blue and White, and his own eight-member parliamentary faction.
Netanyahu invited Lieberman to hold the meeting after the Israel Beytenu chairman stated that his party would submit its own proposal for a national unity government if current talks between Netanyahu’s Likud and Blue and White, headed by MK Benny Gantz, do not bear fruit in the coming week.