From Ynet News, 13/2/09, by Amnon Meranda:
Religious party's top three members meet with Likud Chairman Netanyahu, tell him they will recommend President Peres appoint him to form new coalition. 'We said we would like Kadima to be part of the government as well,' says MK Orlev
After meeting with Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union members, Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu met Friday with representatives of the religious Habayit Hayehudi party which gained three mandates in Tuesday's elections.
Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz and his two comrades who will sit with him in Israel's 18th Knesset, Zvulon Orlev and Uri Orbach, were expected to take part in the meeting.
MK Orlev told Ynet after the meeting, "Netanyahu made it clear to us that we would be part of any government he forms.
"We told him we would like Kadima to also be part of the next government, headed by Netanyahu, out of our concern for the State of Israel and the government's stability over time, and as long as the basic guidelines agreed upon don’t contradict those of Habayit Hayehudi's platform."
Orlev said Netanyahu responded by saying that he too was interested in a government which would be as wide as possible.
Prof. Hershkovitz defined the meeting as excellent. "Reliability is part our ways, and that's why we'll recommend Netanyahu. Our demands will be raised during the coalition negotiations."
Likud officials were disappointed to learn the results of the soldiers' votes announced Thursday did not give them any more seats and that Kadima would remain the largest faction in Knesset.
Friday's meeting does not rule out the possibility that Netanyahu may attempt to unite the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi factions in order to become the largest faction in Knesset.
While certain right-wing parties were unclear on whether they would recommend Netanyahu to form the government, Habayit Hayehudi sources told Ynet on Friday morning that they told Netanyahu they would recommend him to President Shimon Peres.
"This is what we promised our voters, and we won’t deviate from this promise," a source said. "Nonetheless, we will raise our demands during the coalition negotiations."
Habayit Hayehudi sources confirmed to Ynet that Likud members unofficially contacted them regarding the possibility of a union. However, the sources stressed it was too soon to discuss, saying, "It's an egg that hasn't yet hatched."
Meanwhile, Minister Ze'ev Boim (Kadima) told Ynet, "Everything should be done in order to assemble a stable government for the good of that State and governmental stability."
Boim said he opposed having Kadima in the opposition, and said, "It is preferable that (Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi) Livni forms the government, but even if she doesn't, Likud and Kadima should reach an agreement and form a stable government."
Kobi Nahshoni and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report