Netanyahu urges Livni to join 'emergency' unity government

Sunday, December 27, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday repeated his call for opposition leader Tzipi Livni to bring her Kadima Party into a national unity coalition, but did so with even more urgent language than before.

During Sunday's cabinet meeting, Netanyahu asked Livni to view the coming difficulties for Israel and respond as then-opposition leader Menachem Begin did in 1967 at the outset of the Six Day War, when Begin ended 19 years in the opposition and joined a Labor-led government.

Netanyahu first requested that Livni join is government during a meeting between the two on Thursday. He reportedly offered Kadima seven ministerial portfolios, which his aides suggested the opposition party should be happy with, considering the alternative is Kadima's break-up.

According to reports earlier in the week, Netanyahu had succeeded in obtaining a commitment by at least seven Kadima members to leave the party and return to the Likud if Livni did not join the government. Others within the party were unhappy with how Livni was handling the situation, including the party's number two, Shaul Mofaz, who insisted Livni hold serious negotiations with Likud and that it was time for Kadima to have a new primary election.

There was much speculation in Israel that the urgency of Netanyahu's moves foretold a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities or an imminent attack by Lebanon's Hizballah, leading to possible regional war.

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