Benjamin Netanyahu has stunned Israel by forming a unity government that could give him a freer hand to seek peace with the Palestinians and attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Scrapping plans for early elections, he said the opposition centrist party Kadima had joined his rightist coalition. It is all the result of a secret deal with Kadima’s new leader Shaul Mofaz.
At a news conference in which he stood side by side with Mofaz, the prime minister confirmed that Iran was one of the most important issues.
“We have been discussing it for a long time, even when it is not on the news… for several years,” Netanyahu told reporters.
In 2008, Mofaz became one of the first Israeli officials to publicly moot the possibility of attacking Iran, his birthplace. Since then, he has been more circumspect, saying Israel should not hasten to break ranks with world powers trying to pressure Iran through sanctions and negotiations.
Set to become Netanyahu’s deputy, Mofaz takes Kadima into a coalition that will be one of the biggest in Israeli history.