Obama will not visit Israel if coalition talks unsuccessful

By Anna Sheinman, March 1, 2013
US President Barack Obama (Photo: AP)

US President Barack Obama (Photo: AP)

US President Barack Obama will cancel his visit to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a government by March 16, Israel’s Channel 10 has reported.

The news comes as talks between Mr Netanyahu’s Likud and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish home ended on Friday. Following the failed meeting, a Likud negotiator complained that Jewish Home would not form a coalition with strictly Orthodox parties.

David Shimrom, chief Likud negotiator, said: “The Jewish Home party wants Haredim excluded from the next coalition exactly like Yesh Atid wants them excluded.” Officials from the Jewish Home party have denied this claim.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to request a 14-day extension for talks on Saturday from President Shimon Peres. If talks remain unsuccessful, another politician may be asked to take the reins, but this may be too later for Mr Obama, whose visit was planned for March 21.

Last updated: 1:52pm, March 1 2013