Netanyahu appoints Amsalem as new communications minister

Meanwhile, the Likud's bond with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party was challenged in the Tel Aviv District Court on Monday.

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July 1, 2019 19:36
1 minute read.
David Amsalem

David Amsalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed his loyalist, coalition chairman David Amsalem, as communications minister on Monday evening.

Amsalem will replace Ayoub Kara, who quit last week in a dispute with Netanyahu. The prime minister could not hold on to the post himself due to the ongoing Case 4000 investigation against him that involves the ministry.

The MK made a name for himself by initiating a series of bills aimed at protecting Netanyahu from his criminal investigations.

"My choice of Amsalem is intended to show there is payment for loyalty to me," Netanyahu was quoted as saying in closed conversations when he appointed him as coalition chairman.

The Amsalem appointment is unlikely to win Netanyahu praise from the leaders of Diaspora Jewry. Amsalem spoke negatively against them during a crisis over the fate of egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.

"With all due respect to the Americans and American Jews, they cannot be influencing what goes on here," Amsalem said. "Let them get insulted if they want. There’s nothing wrong with that." 

Meanwhile, the Likud's bond with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party was challenged in the Tel Aviv District Court on Monday. The agreement Netanyahu reached with Kahlon gives Kulanu the fifth, 15th, 29th and 35th places on the joint list.

Likud MKs Ariel Kallner and Michal Shir appealed to the external court on Monday after an internal Likud court approved the agreement. Kallner, who is 34th on the Likud list, and Shir, who is 29th, said it was unfair that candidates unconnected to Likud be given slots over candidates who have been active in the party for many years.

"The reserved slots for Kulanu candidates will not bring us any new votes, and it pushes aside Likud members who have been loyal to the party," Kallner said.

Shir said the agreement was made at a time when it is illegal to negotiate slots on Knesset lists. It was also brought for approval to the Likud's small governing secretariat, led by newly appointed Foreign Minister Israel Katz, rather than the Likud central committee, which has some 3000 members who are very loyal to the party's current MKs and skeptical of outsiders.


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