November 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel's Labor Party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday suggested that the current Israeli government should be widened so as to move forward the peace process.

"If this government can't move towards peace talks, we must consider widening it and making a national unity coalition," Barak said in a speech before the Pensioners' Union in Tel Aviv.

"We joined the government so it would go in this direction, but we still haven't reached the goal," he added.

Barak's remarks come on the heels of an editorial in The Jerusalem Post on Monday by former Kadima (Forward) Party MP, Tzahi Hanegbi, calling on the Likud and Kadima to "renew the dialogue."

"This historic decision which stands before us necessitates the unification of all the centrist groups," Hanegbi wrote, pointing to a unique coalition agreement, that included a rotating premiership role, between the Likud's Yitzhak Shamir and Labor's Shimon Peres from 1984 to 1988.

"Shamir and Peres overcame a vast, profound ideological gulf and bitter personal rivalry, and found a way to work together harmoniously. It seemed reasonable to hope that (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and (Kadima chief Tsipi) Livni, two leaders characterized by rational thinking, would be able to find the common ground in which to garner the support of the Israeli mainstream," according to Hanegbi.

The idea of a Likud-Kadima coalition has come up repeatedly in the past when the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority stalled. In a recent poll published by the Smith Institute for the Hiddush foundation For Freedom of Religion and Equality, 61 percent of non-haredi (ultra-orthodox) citizens supported the establishment of a Likud-Kadima government.


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