Coalition talks began on Sunday and will likely continue all day Monday. But Kadima, the largest party, finds itself in a difficult position of forming a coalition acceptable to both the Left Labor Party and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Yisrael Beitenu was optimistic about joining the new government, but Likud said it is highly unlikely it will join. Yisrael Beitenu supports Kadima’s stance on passing a Civil Marriage Law, which allows Jewish couples to marry legally in Israel without Orthodox recognition. Also on the agenda Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s intent to evacuate the settlements before US President George Bush leaves office in 2008. The “convergence plan” involves evacuating most Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. While the coalition has not yet been confirmed, Kadima officials believe the coalition will consist of Labor, Yisrael Beitenu, Gil (Pensioner’s Party), Shas and United Torah Judaism.
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