Coalition crisis over national service and ice cream averted

July 22, 2015 01:58


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's associates apologized to Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel on Tuesday for failing to formally transfer to his ministry the authority over the National Service Authority.

The transfer was supposed to happen in a statement to the Knesset Monday night by the minister in charge of liaison with the Knesset, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

When it did not happen, Ariel protested by absenting himself from votes in the Knesset plenum and defiantly eating ice cream outside the plenum.

But Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and advisers to Netanyahu and Levin reassured Ariel that the error was technical and not intentional. They said the authority over national service would be transferred next Monday.

Ariel was already upset that the government was not authorizing enough construction projects in Judea and Samaria. Settler leaders complained about that to Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Ariel at Monday's faction meeting. 

Bennett told Channel 2 Tuesday night that he, too, was disappointed that there was not more construction taking place. But he said there are projects being advanced in and out of settlement blocs and more would be advanced soon.

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