Israel's main opposition party has turned down an offer from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join his coalition government.

The centrist Kadima party has 28 seats in the 120-seat Israeli parliament — one more than Netanyahu's Likud. Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the Kadima leader, said Monday that Netanyahu's offer was "cynical and unrealistic." She said it was "unworthy of the prime minister" to try to use Israel's difficult diplomatic situation for "small-time politics."

Netanyahu offered Kadima several Cabinet posts without portfolios, while insisting that he would make all the important decisions.

Many analysts say Netanyahu's real goal is to split Kadima and reinforce his own party with defectors from the opposition party.