May 7, 2012 10:44 PM CT
Israeli opposition party Kadima agreed early today to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition in a surprise announcement that nullifies plans to hold national elections in September.
“Kadima is joining and early elections are canceled,” ruling Likud party spokeswoman Noga Katz said by telephone. Elections will take place in October or November 2013 as originally scheduled, she said. Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and chief of staff, will become vice prime minister and minister without portfolio, she said.
The move increases the coalition’s seats in the 120-member Knesset to 94, according to the parliamentary website, amid growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, a slowing economy and stalled Palestinian peace talks. Mofaz has said Israel should focus less attention on Iran and more on negotiations with the Palestinians as well as socio-economic issues.
“Netanyahu will have to show flexibility on Iran to acknowledge Kadima’s stake in the new coalition government and make it work,” said In Nam Sik, an associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Affairs at South Korea’s state-run National Diplomatic Academy.
The agreement came after the Knesset gave preliminary approval for early elections yesterday. While Netanyahu was favored to win, he would still need coalition partners, according to polls published in the last few days. Likud would have won 31 seats compared with the 27 it holds now, according to a survey published in the Maariv newspaper on May 3.
Former Defense Chief
Mofaz, 63, was born in Iran and immigrated with his family to Israel in 1957. In 1998 he become the military chief of staff and in 2002 was appointed defense minister in the Likud-led government of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
As defense minister, Mofaz oversaw the withdrawal of all troops and Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005, an operation that drew criticism from many in the Likud party. Mofaz quit Likud with Sharon later that year to establish Kadima.
The alliance with Mofaz has the potential to remake Israeli domestic politics, reducing the disproportionate influence of smaller religious parties, said David Makovsky, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. At the same time, it will likely ensure that Israel’s leading proponent of an attack on Iran, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, will remain in office, he said.
“It’s a stunning move,” Makovsky said in a telephone interview. “It’s a new world.”
Benjamin Netanyahu was born on October 21st, 1949 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Netanyahu
October 21st, 1949
10 + 21 +2+0+1+1 = 35 = his personal year (from October 21st, 2011 to October 20th, 2012) = Perseverance. Hanging in there. Defending himself. The long haul.
35 year + 8 (August) = 43 = his personal month (from August 21st, 2012 to September 20th, 2012) = Congratulations. Celebrating. Fun times.
43 month + 4 (4th of the month on Tuesday September 4th, 2012) = 47 = his personal day = What the future holds for him.
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