Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas still have not
held their long-awaited meeting, but one dispute in the Middle East was settled
in a summit on Sunday between Transportation Minister Israel Katz and his
deputy, MK Tzipi Hotovely.
The dispute erupted 10 days ago when Hotovely
(Likud Beytenu) outlined new policies under her authority in charge of the fight
against traffic accidents in a speech at Bar-Ilan University.
policies included making it illegal for new drivers to talk on the phone when
they drive even if they have a hands-free accessory installed in their car and
reevaluating speed limits and cameras.
Katz (Likud Beytenu) reacted
angrily to Hotovely’s proposals and had his spokeswoman give a press release
saying that he would decide all of the ministry’s policies.
He even had
his ministry’s director-general Uzi Itzhaki release a directive that no one in
the ministry could have contact with Hotovely without Itzhaki’s
Hotovely complained publicly about Katz’s behavior, leading to
headlines that were embarrassing for Katz and to Sunday’s meeting, which was
reportedly their first in months.
In the 45-minute meeting, Katz agreed
that Hotovely would indeed be in charge of the fight against traffic accidents
under his direction.
The two politicians are to meet again in two weeks
along with representatives of the National Traffic Safety Authority to delineate
In the meeting, both Likud politicians said they wanted to
decrease tension and Katz agreed to remove Itzhaki’s directive. Had the meeting
not gone as well, Netanyahu was expected to get involved to mediate between
“We are cautiously optimistic that their relationship will be
better now,” a source close to Katz said.
A Likud source said it was
important that Katz not make another enemy in Likud who would join his current
adversaries, Ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan, and Silvan
“There are enough Israelhaters already,” the Likud source said.
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