Katz, Hotovely agree to mend fences

The feuding Transportation Minister Katz and his deputy MK Hotovely say they have resolved transportation policies dispute.

July 14, 2013 22:48
1 minute read.
Car towed from handicapped space

Car towed from handicapped space 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

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.

The 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 approval.

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 her authority.

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 them.

“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 Shalom.

“There are enough Israelhaters already,” the Likud source said.

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