(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government – that has endured its share of ministers coming and going – may soon face another upheaval, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon revealed Tuesday, at a convention of the business newspaper Globes.
Kahlon said that if Labor chairman Isaac Herzog does not end up entering the government, he does not see Netanyahu continuing to hold five portfolios and Kahlon himself keeping the Environment portfolio vacated by Avi Gabbay, who quit.
“I will continue working to widen the government and I hope the Labor Party will enter,” Kahlon told the crowd. “If they do not enter the government, there will have to be a redistribution of the portfolios.”
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett confirmed what Kahlon said, adding the reshuffle will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the forum of coalition party heads. In radio interviews Tuesday, Bennett continued to threaten Netanyahu that he could take Bayit Yehudi out of the coalition if too many steps are taken on the diplomatic front.
Bennett told Israel Radio that he respects Netanyahu and wants his coalition to complete its term, but that a purportedly right-wing government should not create a Palestinian State or split its capital.
“I want the government to last until 2019,” Bennett said. “But if someone thinks a government that’s described as right-wing will create a Palestinian state on Highway 6 (the Trans-Israel Highway) and divide Jerusalem, we won’t accept that.”
Bennett told Army Radio that he was not ready for Israel to pay a price for negotiations with the Palestinians.
“I am glad Yisrael Beytenu joined to stabilize the coalition,” he said. “But there is such a thing as having things you stand for. If the government goes in a dangerous direction like taking unilateral steps, we will be there to stop it.”