Likud-Beytenu fears falling to 30 Knesset seats

Top Likud official: Without Yisrael Beytenu, the Likud will have just 20 Knesset seats, which is an embarrassment.

The Likud is afraid that the loss of support indicated in Friday's polls is continuing. Behind closed doors, a top party official said, "At this rate, we'll reach 32 Knesset seats with Liberman. Without the union with Yisrael Beytenu, the Likud will have just 20 Knesset seats, which is an embarrassment."

By law, last Friday's poll was the last.

Earlier today, MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud), who is 31st on the joint Likud-Beytenu list, said on his Facebook page that he was worried about serving in the 19th Knesset. "I'm heading to the Knesset to hold the last three meetings of the Economic Affairs Committee of the 18th Knesset. Who knows? Maybe I'll only see the next Knesset via the Knesset cable channel… Instead of me, there will be MKs who forecast the blowing up of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or exclude women from serving in Hebron. In any event, he will be subject to a rabbi who said that the murderer Baruch Goldstein is as holy as the victims of the Holocaust."

Meanwhile, much is happening behind the scenes. Labor Party chairwoman MK Shelly Yachimovich is not giving up her efforts to form a bloc that will prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from putting together a majority after the elections. Labor Party sources say that she is focusing her efforts on strengthening the party in the elections, not on coalition building. Other sources familiar with the issue say the she has met representatives of haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties, but contacts have been suspended until after the elections.

Meanwhile, the Likud is continuing to court Yesh Atid to bring it into the government. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid denies that meetings have been held, or that deals have been struck, but Yesh Atid representative Uri Shani and Likud representative Gideon Sa'ar have met in the past few days with a view of forming a coalition. Netanyahu's former chief of staff Natan Eshel is responsible for closing a deal with the haredim. Feelers have also been sent to Kadima that if it wins enough seats, chairman MK Shaul Mofaz will sit at the cabinet table, even after it briefly joined the current government before quitting over the Tal Law on the drafting of haredim.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on January 21, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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