Likud Minister Katz: Netanyahu 'punishing' me for voting against prisoner release

Transportation minister claims Infrastructure portfolio being taken from him as punishment; PMO denies claims.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 22, 2013 11:33
1 minute read.
ISRAEL KATZ

ISRAEL KATZ 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday of taking revenge against him for voting against the cabinet decision to release more than 100 Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails.

Katz wrote on his Facebook page that Netanyahu decided to punish him for the vote by removing Infrastructure from the official name of his ministry, which is Transportation, Infrastructure, and Preventing Traffic Accidents. Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom's ministry used to be called National Infrastructure but it was changed to Energy and Water during Uzi Landau's tenure as minister and then Katz added Infrastructure to his ministry's name.

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Next Sunday the cabinet will vote to return Infrastructure to the ministry of Shalom, who has gotten closer to Netanyahu in recent months. But the responsibilities of the two ministers will remain exactly the same.

"I voted against releasing murderers and argued with the prime minister and now the punishment has come," Katz wrote. "I intend to continue voting against releasing murderers of Jews. I will also continue to lead revolutions in infrastructure and reforms as I did until now." Katz and Netanyahu are expected to speak next week at an event celebrating this week's opening of the rebuilt Golani junction in the lower Galilee, a project led by Katz.

Netanyahu's associates denied that the name change had anything to do with Katz's vote on the prisoner release. They said he was told of the decision before the vote. But they did say that relations between Netanyahu and Shalom have improved. Shalom praised Netanyahu at the minister's annual pre-Rosh Hashana toast for his supporters in Ramat Gan Wednesday night.

"Sometime you have to grit your teeth," Shalom said "You have to let the prime minister lead and give him support."

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