Likud Ready to Meet Lieberman Demands

Guarantees Would Likely Damage Likud's Support From Religious Parties

Likud officials are reporting that the party is willing to meet two of Avigdor Lieberman‘s major demands for his Yisrael Beiteinu party to endorse them in the next government: easing the legal requirements for conversion to Judaism and allowing civil unions for those unable to meet the stringent requirements for religious marriage in the nation.

Those two requirements may be enough to secure Lieberman’s endorsement, but he is also looking for a major ministerial position, either defense minister or finance minister, and a commitment to destroy the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. The question of a ministership seems to be an open one: Netanyahu has previously said Lieberman wouldn’t be his defense minister, and investigations into Lieberman have left some wondering if he is even eligible for finance minister.

But even assuming Likud nets the support of the third largest party, it may not bring them any closer to a coalition. The ultra-orthodox parties, already at odds with Lieberman, would almost certainly have an enormous problem with these two concessions. Gaining the 15 seats of Yisrael Beiteinu might cost Likud the 16 seats held by Shas and UTJ.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.