Coalition talks go down to the wire as Bayit Yehudi demands Justice Ministry

Faction leader Naftali Bennett's demand comes ahead of Wednesday's midnight deadline to form a new government.

May 6, 2015 07:53
2 minute read.
naftali bennett

Naftali Bennett at a Bayit Yehudi convention at Tel Aviv University, September 10, 2014.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s effort to form a new governing coalition reached the final day permitted by law on Wednesday, after talks with Bayit Yehudi continued into the late hours of Tuesday night.

According to the law, if Netanyahu does not form a government by midnight on Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin will be required to call upon another MK to form a government or initiate a general election. Rivlin could ask Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog or an MK in the Likud.

The prime minister has deals set with Kulanu, United Torah Judaism and Shas, which together with the Likud’s 30 lawmakers, give him 53 MKs. He only needs the eight MKs of Bayit Yehudi to reach the blocking majority of 61 required to form a coalition.

But Bayit Yehudi played hard to get on Tuesday, purposely not returning repeated calls and messages from Netanyahu’s associates. Leader Naftali Bennett’s associates said during the day that he would only speak to Netanyahu directly to reach a deal.

By evening, the Bayit Yehudi chairman agreed to send his political adviser Shalom Shlomo to meet with the prime minister’s lawyer David Shimron to work out the details of a coalition agreement. Bennett and Netanyahu are expected to meet to finalize the deal on Wednesday.

A Bayit Yehudi spokesman would not confirm reports that the party’s demands included the Foreign Ministry for Bennett, the Justice portfolio for MK Ayelet Shaked and the Education Ministry for current Construction Minister Uri Ariel.

The Likud released a statement on Tuesday denying that Netanyahu’s associates had mocked the offer or attacked Bennett.

“Throughout the day there were various quotes attributed to sources close to the prime minister,” the statement said.

“We want to clarify that no statement or briefing came from the party or the prime minister.”

Among the quotes attributed was: “The Right will never forgive Bennett if he prevents the formation of a right-wing government because he craved portfolios.”

A Likud source was quoted as reacting to Bayit Yehudi’s demands by saying that they “did not know whether to laugh or cry.” Another source said that “at best, Bennett will be given the Public Diplomacy portfolio and a couple more deputy ministers.”

Likud MKs Tzipi Hotovely and Miri Regev both attacked Bennett publicly, calling on him to ease his demands and join the government immediately.

“Bennett must be held responsible to his voters who want a right-wing government and not another election,” Hotovely said. “With what his party has been offered already, he cannot claim to have been slighted. He should sign a deal now and enable the Right to continue to rule.”

Rivlin told a visiting delegation that he expects Netanyahu to build a coalition of 61 MKs and expand it later.

“The prime minister is making all the efforts,” he said. “I suppose that afterward they will try to find a way to extend the coalition, but in Israel there is never a dull moment.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Head of central elections committee Judge Hanan Melczer
May 26, 2019
Central Elections Committee wants its own police force