Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and Kadima parties form bloc

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and Kadima parties have formed a bloc and say they will enter Israel’s government coalition only if their demands are met.

The bloc of 33 Knesset members is two seats larger than the Likud-Beiteinu bloc led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has slightly more than a week left in which to form a new government coalition.

The demands reportedly include the Foreign and Finance ministries, the Jerusalem Post reported, citing an unnamed Yesh Atid official.

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid later denied in a Facebook post that the parties have given Netanyahu an ultimatum regarding the ministries. 

in Israel’s elections Jan. 22, the centrist Yesh Atid party led by Lapid received 19 seats, the religious nationalist Jewish Home party led by Naftali Bennett received 12 seats and the Kadima party led by Shaul Mofaz received two seats.

The announcement of the bloc came after Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled that Netanyahu can hold the foreign minister position for Yisrael Beiteinu party head Avigdor Liberman until the conclusion of his fraud trial.

Netanyahu reportedly offered Lapid the Finance Ministry, which Bennett wants for himself. 

Yesh Atid cancelled coalition talks scheduled for Wednesday, ostensibly over Likud’s proposed number of government ministers, which Lapid says is too many. Lapid made a campaign promise to limit the size of the government.

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