Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu awaits the response of Israel Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak regarding the possibility the Labor Party will join the coalition.
If Mr. Barak, the current defense minister, makes it clear to Mr. Netanyahu he can pass a resolution in the Labor Party convention to join the government, the prime minister-designate will request an extension of 14 additional days from Israeli President Shimon Peres for the purpose of continuing the coalition negotiations.
If it becomes apparent that the possibility of a unity government is completely off the table, Mr. Netanyahu will make every effort to finish assembling his government by Sunday.
The proposal Mr. Netanyahu submitted to Mr. Barak included five portfolios, the most senior of which was to keep Mr. Barak as defense minister. In addition, the Labor Party was offered two deputy ministers, including the deputy defense minister and a committee chair.
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At the beginning of the week, Messrs. Barak and Netanyahu met at the Barak home in the Akirov Towers in Tel Aviv. The two have several channels of communication and mediators who convey proposals.
In addition to ministry positions, the Labor Party has demands regarding the government guidelines in the areas of foreign and economic policy.
Senior Labor Party figures say Mr. Barak is doing work on the ground and his people are speaking with convention members trying to persuade them to join the coalition. The opponents of joining the government are also speaking with the convention members to ensure if a proposal is raised, it will not be approved.
While it is believed that there is still a chance, although not a high one, that the Labor Party will join the government, the assessment regarding Kadima is that Chairwoman Tzipi Livni has decided to go into the opposition.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com