Despite earlier reports that Avigdor Lieberman would be offered the Internal Security portfolio in the proposed Israeli coalition cabinet, it is currently looking like his Israel Beiteinu may remain in opposition. The head of the party’s negotiating team, MK Yuri Shtern,
particularly objected to a clause calling for “a reduction in the land that will be settled in Judea and Samaria.”
“If Olmert wants us in the coalition, he has to make an effort to show us we are wanted, but so far he has done only the opposite,” Shtern said.
If Israel Beiteinu does not “change its tune,” Kadima will renew contacts with Meretz over the latter’s joining the coalition.
Meanwhile, the coalition guidelines call for:
the pursuit of a solution to help thousands of Israelis who could not be married by the rabbinate. An agreement reached later with Shas specified that Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar would be the halachic authority on solving that problem.
This plan received a nice reception from one of Shas’s competitors for the religious-authoritarian vote:
In a strongly worded press release, National Union MK Zvi Hendel accused Shas of “betraying its voters” and said Shas would join Kadima voters in hell.
As The Head Heeb notes, the Kadima-Pensioners agreement includes not only two portfolios and key policy concessions for the Pensioners but also the two parties sitting together as one caucus and operating under unified discipline.