Herzog reportedly ready to join Netanyahu’s coalition, demands major portfolios

In coalition negotiations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Isaac Herzog conditioned his party joining the government on landing either one of the justice, culture or communications portfolios, local media reported early Tuesday.

It is understood the move sparked consternation among both Herzog’s associates in the Zionist Movement, who believe that joining the right-wing coalition would compromise their status as a credible alternative to Netanyahu’s Likud; and coalition members who stand to lose ministerial portfolios should Herzog’s demands be accepted.

Specifically, Naftali Bennett said his right-wing Habayit Hayehudi party would quit the coalition in the event Ayelet Shaked loses the justice portfolio.

Rumors had begun swirling earlier in the week that a deal had almost been struck for the Zionist Union to join the ruling coalition over the next few days.

But those reports were quickly batted away by Netanyahu’s Likud, with officials saying that there were too many significant gaps left to close.

For his part, Herzog says that he has not yet seen an offer to his satisfaction.

“For the past year, I have been asked to join the government every day, and I’ve always answered: It does not interest me to sit without a hand on the steering wheel. I am not the decorations committee.” he said.