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Opposition to Unity Government Within Likud

by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) Even if Likud leader and Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu succeeds in convincing Kadima to join a unity government with him, he will still have to face opposition from within his own party.

Danny Danon: Categorically Against
The Likud’s Danny Danon, about to enter the Knesset this Tuesday together with 30 other rookie Knesset Members, says he is against inviting Kadima to join the coalition: “We must have a nationalist coalition, period. Kadima should be allowed to disintegrate in the Opposition.”

Danon, former head of the World Likud organization who once ran against Netanyahu for party leadership, told IsraelNationalNews that there are other present and future Likud MKs who agree with him, though no practical steps have been taken as of yet to unite and make their position known.

Danon said that he will be accompanied to the ceremonial opening Knesset session on Tuesday by former residents of Gush Katif and northern Shomron who were thrown out of their homes under the Disengagement plan. It was as a result of that expulsion that the Likud split up, with Ariel Sharon leading those who supported the plan into his new Kadima party. Now, 3.5 years later, Kadima is being asked by Likud leader Netanyahu to join his government.

Kara: Nationalist First
Past and future MK Ayoub Kara is also strongly against a unity government. “Netanyahu must, first of all, maintain his nationalist coalition of 65 MKs from the parties that supported him and recommended him to the President,” said Kara, of the Druze community. “Only afterwards,” he said, “should he try to expand the coalition.”

Kara strongly opposed the Disengagement, was not reelected to the Knesset in 2006, but will once again enter the Knesset on the Likud list this week.

“If Netanyahu has patience and waits a little,” said Kara, “he’ll be able to get Kadima at end-of-season bargain prices. We promised a nationalist government, and if, Heaven forbid, we take a different path, our trustworthiness will be sorely compromised.”

Edelstein: Guidelines and Nationalist Parties are Critical
Veteran MK Yuli Edelstein, a Knesset Member since 1996 with a 10-month hiatus ending two years ago, says his main concerns about having Kadima in the government are “the coalition guidelines and our natural partners in the nationalist camp.” He told IsraelNationalNews that he is not overly concerned by reports that Netanyahu has offered Livni the whole store – parity with the Likud in ministerial portfolios, the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, and possibly even the Knesset Speakership.

“Many of these reports are not accurate,” Edelstein said, “and I certainly haven’t heard Netanyahu say as much. Nor will he agree to their demand that he declare his support for a two-state solution. What concerns me is not the amount of portfolios they receive, but rather what the exact coalition guidelines will be, and to make sure that our natural partners – the nationalist parties – do not lose out.”

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