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Members of Israel's ruling party divided amid coalition talks (2)


09:41, January 28, 2013

However, on the other side, there are members who argue that leaving him out of the future government would be a bad idea. " Turning our backs on Bennet would be a mistake," a Likud member told the news website, "Especially if it appears the reason for it is the rift between Bennet and Netanyahu's wife."

Bennet headed Netanyahu's chambers in 2008 and 2009 when the latter was the opposition leader, but he left reportedly after a major clash with Netanyahu's wife Sarah. Netanyahu suspected that Bennet was behind the leaks to Israeli media about the couple's spending and trips abroad.

"This rift isn't a good reason to leave him out to dry. Our best option would be to form a coalition with Bennet, with (Yesh Atid leader) Yair Lapid and with the ultra-Orthodox parties," the top Likud member added.

"If we leave them out now, they'll hold a grudge, as well as out consistency. We have the same voters' base. They should be allowed in," another Likud member told the website.

However, Ha'aretz daily quoted an objector as saying that " Bennet is most likely to undercut Netanyahu from within the government."

The same source said Likud would gain by making a coalition with Lapid, the ultra-Orthodox parties and other center parties like Tzipi Livni's party and Kadima, which together got nine seats, and excluding Bennet, whose party may disrupt any attempt to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

"If that's the coalition he'll prefer to stay in the opposition. That would hurt him in the long run, as he needs governmental experience as a newcomer," the Likud member added.

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