Sources: Netanyahu, Kahlon Closer to Agreement

April 20, 2015  

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon are close to a coalition agreement but nothing has been finalized yet, sources in both parties told the Walla! Hebrew-language website on Monday night.

The comments came after Netanyahu and Kahlon met for several hours on Monday evening, for a meeting officials described as being held in a positive atmosphere.

“During the meeting, progress was made in the coalition negotiations between the two sides,” the two parties said in a joint statement. “At the same time, the negotiating teams of the Likud and Kulanu met at the Knesset this evening to form the agreement. A further meeting between the two leaders has been set.”

A source involved in the talks between the parties told Walla! after the meeting, “Significant progress has been made. We discussed all the economic issues, from the deficit to the details of the reforms that Kahalon wants to implement.”

The source further told the news website, “Today (Tuesday) we will find out whether an agreement in principle is possible, but we are still far from a signed agreement.”

The source also noted that the party with which Likud is closest to signing is the haredi United Torah Judaism.

According to Walla!, during Monday’s meeting it was agreed that Kulanu would receive the Finance, Housing and Construction and Environmental Protection Ministries. However, no progress has been made regarding a series of laws Likud wishes to pass which would limit the power of the Supreme Court, and to which Kahlon is opposed.

The meeting between Netanyahu and Kahlon came hours after the Prime Minister visited President Reuven Rivlin and received a 14-day extension in which to put together a new ruling coalition.

While a deal with Kahlon could be imminent, Netanyahu has had a much more difficult time with the Jewish Home party, whose chairman Naftali Bennett on Sunday threatened to shut down talks entirely, should  Netanyahu decide to appoint Shas head Aryeh Deri as Religious Affairs Minister.

Talks with the Yisrael Beytenu are stuck as well, but the officials told Walla! that Netanyahu would meet this week with both Bennett and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, in the hopes of making progress.

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