Netanyahu Promises Lieberman Pivotal Ministership

Likud Head Hopes for Broad Coalition Government

Updated 2/5/09 11:30 AM EST

While Kadima has managed to somewhat narrow the gap between them and the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu, the smart money continues to be on the later forming the government after next week’s election, particularly with the gains of likely coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu.

Led by Avigdor Lieberman, the Yisrael Beiteinu party is looking to gain enormously in the election, with the latest poll showing them at an unprecedented 19 seats. Perhaps trying to prevent the party’s far right from defecting, Netanyahu said today that he plans to give a “pivotal ministerial position” to Lieberman when he takes power.

But Netanyahu also says he’s hoping to form a broad coalition, calling on “all of the Zionist parties to join the unity government.” According to the would-be Prime Minister, uniting all the parties is key to confronting Iran.

The controversy around Lieberman is unlikely to impede such a government. Both the Kadima and Labor heads have indicated that they have no qualms about joining a coalition that includes the right-wing firebrand.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of