MK Shelly Yechimovich (Zionist Union) insisted on Wednesday that the chairman of her party, Yitzhak Herzog, still wants to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition – and stated that she will not allow that to happen.
“It sounds far-fetched – but I know he wants to enter the government under any conditions. I will do all I can to make sure this does not happen,” she told the Knesset Channel in an interview.
Yechimovich said she was unaware of a written agreement between Herzog and Netanyahu that the opposition chairman is waiting to carry out, but stressed she would act to make sure such an agreement – if one exists – will not be implemented.
“The Labor party is a democratic party, not a party of one man,” she said in the interview, adding that the forces who want to maintain the ethical and political life of the Labor party will prevail.
Coalition talks between the Zionist Union and the Likud appeared to be over when Netanyahu joined forces with Yisrael Beytenu and Avigdor Liberman, but Herzog recently hinted that his party would reconsider joining the coalition if Netanyahu ousted the Jewish Home from the government.
The talks on a unity government with Zionist Union reportedly fizzled over Herzog's demand for a unilateral division of Jerusalem, among other things. With Yisrael Beytenu's entry to the government Zionist Union has ratcheted up its rhetoric against the "most right-wing government ever."
Netanyahu has called to expand the coalition even further, in an apparent overture to Herzog.
Yechimovich has consistently stated that she objects to the party joining the coalition and has been supported on this issue by several other members of the party.
Herzog’s office responded to her comments on Wednesday and rejected them, according to Channel 2 News.
“Yechimovich is the only one who is still talking about the subject of a unity government – she can now give it a rest and stop the campaign of attacks which is splitting the party, because Herzog slammed the door on this issue,” said Herzog’s office.