Smotrich will defer to Shaked for justice ministry if she joins URP

No official offer has been made; Shaked also considering New Right, Likud, no-politics options.

July 8, 2019 16:34
1 minute read.
Ayelet Shaked hosts a goodbye party as she leaves her position as Justice Minister.

Ayelet Shaked hosts a goodbye party as she leaves her position as Justice Minister.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Betzalel Smotrich, co-leader of the Union of Right-Wing Parties, is willing to give up his demand to be appointed justice minister in the next government in deference to Ayelet Shaked, if she joins his party.

Currently interim transportation minister, Smotrich was insistent during coalition negotiations following the April election that he be appointed justice minister, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reluctant to accede to his demand.

But Smotrich is now ready to give up this goal completely in order to draft Shaked into the URP because of her electoral value, and would vacate the second spot on the party’s list, which he currently holds as well.

Shaked, a leader of the New Right Party, is currently abroad, and sources in the URP said that no specific offer has yet been made since she has been out of the country for some time.

The former justice minister is weighing her options of returning to New Right; joining up with URP if granted sufficient seniority; joining Likud, which looks unlikely at present; or sitting out the election altogether, which also looks increasingly unlikely.

Smotrich has of late been highly critical of New Right’s other leader, Naftali Bennett, for failing to enter into negotiations with the URP or its two main constituent parties Bayit Yehudi and National Union, to form a broader political union to safeguard right-wing votes.

New Right has formally stated, however, that it is currently involved only in “building up the party,” and will only begin negotiating with other parties for possible political unions beginning on Monday.

Bennett is reluctant to join the URP since he believes its hard-line, conservative religious representatives will scare off more liberal, less religious and traditional voters from New Right.

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