19th Israel Knesset inaugurated, coalition possibilities debated

Click photo to download. Caption: Could Israeli Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich join Netanyahu's coalition in the 19th Knesset despide vowing to join only opposition? Credit: Knesset.gov.il via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Israel’s new 120-member Knesset was sworn in Tuesday two weeks after the country’s parliamentary election.

“The public’s eyes are on you, members of Knesset, in the hope that you'll prove to be worthy emissaries for the creation of a better future,” said Israeli President Shimon Peres, who welcomed the new Knesset, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

As re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues his efforts to build a coalition for the next Israeli government, he has met with Israel’s Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich to examine the possibility of the left-wing party joining forces with the right-leaning Likud-Yisrael Beitenu. Yachimovich has previously vowed her party will only join the opposition.

Netanyahu also spoke at the Knesset inauguration, stressing that “at trying times conflicts must be left aside in favor of unity.”

Speculation is also abound that Netanyahu may be looking at a coalition combination without Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, the second-largest party in the new Knesset with 19 seats. Instead, he may opt to join with the religious party Habayit Hayehudi, the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah, and Kadima. Such a combination will lead to 69 Knesset members, well above the 61 needed for a majority. Likud sources have not denied this possible scenario, according to Haaretz.

Posted on February 5, 2013 .