Just hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced he had formed a government Wednesday night, top Likud officials were talking about the possibility of expanding the government – by bringing in Zionist Union, or at least some of its MKs.
According to the sources, Netanyahu is miffed that he was “forced” to make Ayelet Shaked Justice Minister, thereby placing her in charge of the government committee that nominates judges.
In addition, she will be responsible for nominating the next Attorney General – a position Netanyahu feels he needs to be in control of, the sources said, because “that office's functions are essential to the running of the government.”
Netanyahu is set to swear in his government in the coming days, but once it is established, he will immediately make an offer to Labor head Yitzhak Herzog, sources say. According to those sources, Netanyahu is prepared to bring Herzog in on a rotation basis, giving up the top office in the last 18 or 12 months of his term.
The sources did not elaborate on whether Netanyahu expects all of Labor to follow Herzog, or whether they hoped he would bring in MKs loyal to him, essentially splitting Labor.
Earlier on Wednesday, Herzog denied a report by Channel Two's Amnon Abramovich that he had turned down an offer by Netanyahu to be Foreign Minister while conducting serious negotiations to bring Labor into Netanyahu's coalition.
Netanyahu and his close aides, said the sources, are licking their wounds from what they consider to have been a “failed” coalition negotiation process, in which the Likud gave up far more than it wanted to in order to form the government. Especially hurtful, the sources said, was the ceding of the National Planning Commission to the Interior Ministry, which Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party will control.