Livni to Help Netanyahu on Iran

Ad Feedback—JERUSALEM—Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni says that even if she doesn't join a government headed by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, she will support him in whatever way she can on the issue of Israel's defense against the Iranian nuclear threat.  In their two meetings since he was tasked with forming a government, Netanyahu has stressed the importance of a unity government with Kadima and other large parties in the Knesset (parliament) because of the danger a nuclear Iran would pose to Israel.

While Livni has so far spurned Netanyahu's offer, she believes her party can assist Netanyahu with Iran from the opposition.  "I will use my many contacts in the United States, Europe and the Arab world, along with my experience and that of other Kadima members to win support from the international community against Iran to the extent necessary," she said.

Livni's primary difficulties with joining Likud revolve around the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.  She is adamant about pursuing a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, while Netanyahu believes that Israel currently does not have a serious or sufficiently strong Palestinian partner for peace.  Shaul Mofaz, the leading Kadima member after Livni, has said publicly that his party should join the government.  Privately, other Kadima members are saying the same thing, but they have not countered Livni in public.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is moving ahead with coalition talks with parties on the right.  He can build a smaller governing coalition of 65 Knesset members in the 120-member Knesset by inviting the party leaders he calls his "natural allies."  Meetings are scheduled Wednesday with Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, and United Torah Judaism.  Netanyahu plans to have many cabinet ministers to satisfy the eventual coalition partners and members of his own party.

Sources:  Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post

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