Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:24AM - 108 Views

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(AP) Israeli political newcomer Yair Lapid says he will drive a hard bargain if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants him to join the next Israeli government.

Polls show Netanyahu's Likud Beitenu Party is likely to emerge as the largest bloc next week's parliamentary election, putting him in position to form a new coalition government. While Netanyahu will probably be able to form a coalition with hard-line and religious parties, he is widely expected to court Lapid in order to bring a more moderate face to the government.

Lapid says he will have firm demands. Speaking to The Associated Press on Wednesday, he said he would demand that Netanyahu change the controversial practice of giving welfare payments to unemployed Jewish seminary students and revive peace talks with the Palestinians.

Associated Press
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