Bezalel Smotrich and Rabbi Rafi Peretz after signing the agreement with the National Union..
(photo credit: BAYIT YEHUDI)
The Union of Right-wing Parties (URP) is set to have its first coalition negotiations talks with Likud’s negotiating team on Friday, over two weeks after the talks began.
URP is the last of the Knesset’s right-wing factions to begin negotiating with the Likud, due in part to fighting between the leaders of the two parties making up the bloc, Bezalel Smotrich of National Union and Rabbi Rafi Peretz of Bayit Yehudi, over what the party would strive for in the talks.
Part of the disagreements were due to opposition in Bayit Yehudi to some of Smotrich’s demands, saying he was being overly aggressive.
But the parties came to an agreed-upon list of demands ahead of Friday’s meeting.
As URP had said in previous weeks, it will seek the Education Ministry for Peretz and Justice Ministry for Smotrich, as well as the “override clause” allowing the Knesset to re-pass laws struck down by the Supreme Court. The party would also like to keep the deputy defense minister position, held by MK Eli Ben-Dahan in the last term, and to have a third portfolio that would go to Peretz, probably the Jerusalem or Diaspora Ministries, or a combination of the two.
One of URP’s more controversial demands is for the government to set an NIS 5 million budget for an effort to lower divorce rates in Israel, in part by creating a department of psychologists and social workers to offer subsidized couples therapy.
Another URP demand would be to privatize Army Radio.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to convince Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon to be Foreign Minister rather than continuing in his role as finance minister, with sources close to Netanyahu saying Kahlon had too much power in the last term.
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