Middle East

Israel's Netanyahu courts rival to join coalition

  • FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 file photo, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman listens during a news conference after his talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia. Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 invited a hard-line rival to join his government, an official said, taking a bold but risky move that could shore up his shaky parliamentary coalition but deepen his international isolation. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 file photo, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman listens during a news conference after his talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia. Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 invited a hard-line rival to join his government, an official said, taking a bold but risky move that could shore up his shaky parliamentary coalition but deepen his international isolation. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speak during a Likud-Yisrael Beitenu campaign rally in the port city of Ashdod. Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 invited a hard-line rival to join his government, an official said, taking a bold but risky move that could shore up his shaky parliamentary coalition but deepen his international isolation. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speak during a Likud-Yisrael Beitenu campaign rally in the port city of Ashdod. Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 invited a hard-line rival to join his government, an official said, taking a bold but risky move that could shore up his shaky parliamentary coalition but deepen his international isolation. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)  (The Associated Press)

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is exploring the possibility of bringing a hard-line party into his coalition.

The official says that Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman agreed Wednesday to form teams to work out the details of an alliance. Israeli media said that Netanyahu had offered Lieberman the post of defense minister, currently held by Moshe Yaalon.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, could not confirm the reports.

Lieberman, who has been both an ally and rival of Netanyahu's, heads the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party. Lieberman has held a number of Cabinet posts in the past, including stints as foreign minister.

Netanyahu is eager to expand his shaky coalition, which has a narrow one-seat majority in parliament.