Kadima lawmakers nix joining government

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Kadima party lawmakers unanimously rejected Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer to join his government.

The party’s Knesset members met Monday to discuss the prime minister’s offer to join the government, unanimously turning it down. Kadima, the Knesset’s largest political party, is led by Tzipi Livni.

Kadima lawmakers said in principle they’re not against the concept of joining a unity government, but not under Netanyahu’s conditions. They agreed to form a committee to continue negotiations with Netanyahu to join the government.

On Sunday night during a meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu offered Livni two Cabinet posts for Kadima if the party joined his government. On Monday, he upped the offer to three and said he’d invite Livni to be part of the inner Cabinet. He reportedly told Livni he would not veer from the foreign policy he set at the beginning of his term, and that he would continue directing peace negotiations and making diplomatic decisions.

Netanyahu has said he wants to broaden the government in light of the "serious challenges" faced by Israel.

The offer came just days after Likud held talks with at least 14 Kadima lawmakers in a bid to entice them to switch over to Netanyahu’s Likud party. 

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