Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has openly declared that he intends to work to expand his 61-member government, recently offered Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid to join the coalition, Channel 2 News reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources in the political system.
Netanyahu and Lapid met on Monday night for the first time since the elections in March but, according to the sources, the offer to Lapid was extended several days before the meeting.
These sources told Channel 2 News that two of Netanyahu’s associates approached a senior member of Yesh Atid and made the offer, according to which Lapid would be appointed as Foreign Minister and his party would receive three ministerial portfolios.
Also, according to the same sources, Netanyahu's associates offered Yesh Atid the chairmanship of two Knesset committees if it joins the coalition. Lapid's answer came immediately and he outright rejected the Likud’s proposal, according to Channel 2.
Responding to the report, sources close to Netanyahu said, “This never happened”.
Lapid has remained particularly vocal against the Netanyahu government since the March elections, threatening legal action over the expansion of the Cabinet and issuing a no-confidence motion shortly after the government was formed.
In recent weeks there have also been reports that Netanyahu was planning to add Zionist Union chairman Yitzhak Herzog to the coalition and is saving the Foreign Ministry for him.
Herzog has continuously denied the reports. In addition, he and other members of his party condemned Netanyahu’s new coalition, vowing to work to make sure it is short-lived.