Israel coalition talks: Lapid and Gideon Sa’ar resume negotiations halted during Gaza fighting – Haaretz

Posted By on May 27, 2021

New Hope chairman Gideon Sa'ar has renewed on Thursday the coalition talks with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid who is working relentlessly to form a government before his mandate expires on June 2.

Both parties' negotiating teams met on Thursday for the first time since talks between Yesh Atid and New Hope were halted amid Israel's latest operation in Gaza.

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In a joint statement, they said there was "progress" and some agreements were reached. The two teams said they will continue talks in the coming days "in order to form a government."

Yesh Atid say that they have tried to set up a meeting earlier this week, but their efforts were rejected by Sa'ar's party. On Monday, Sa'ar ruled out joining a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Wednesday, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid announced that he has reached an agreement between his party and Meretz, as he continues his efforts to form a government one week before his mandate expires.

Later on Wednesday, Yesh Atid negotiators met with Labor Party representatives and agreement between the parties is set to be signed on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Yesh Atid team is also negotiating with Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan.

The Yesh Atid-Meretz agreement comes a day after Lapid reached a coalition deal with Yisrael Beiteinu, as he continues his efforts to form a coalition by the weeks end with all the parties in the anti-Netanyahu bloc.

Meanwhile, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett told his party Wednesday evening that he had threatened to suspend talks with Netanyahu's Likud if its supporters continue to attack him.

At a meeting with his partys Knesset faction, Bennett sharply criticized Netanyahu. Referring to the prime ministers residence, Bennett said, I am not holding negotiations in the face of terror the pressure is deliberate terror coming from Beit Balfour.

The pro-Netanyahu bloc had decided to renew pressure on Bennett and his No. 2, Ayelet Shaked, out of concern that Yamina may revive talks with Yesh Atid to form a government.

Bennetts remarks came amid growing fears about protests being organized outside the homes of Yamina Knesset members.

On Wednesday, Bezalel Smotrich, the chairman of the far-right Religious Zionism party, attacked Bennett and Shaked, saying that they had taken left right-wing voters off guard by creating the impression that a change government was no longer an option. But in practice, they continued to work quietly, under fire, is form a left-wing government with the supporters of Arab terror.

The pressure on Yamina leaders was turned up after Bennett in a Facebook posting at the start of the week didnt categorically deny that a change government was off the table. In the midst of recent hostilities with Gaza, Bennett had broken off talks with Lapid, although he refrained from saying this publicly and made known his decision in what was reported as closed discussions.

Shaked also failed in remarks she made on Wednesday to say a change government was off the table.

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Israel coalition talks: Lapid and Gideon Sa'ar resume negotiations halted during Gaza fighting - Haaretz

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