uri bank 248.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The National Union Party's chances of joining the coalition increased on Thursday when Israel Beiteinu endorsed Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu to form a government that Kadima said it would not join.
National Union leader Yaakov Katz is expected to be appointed a minister in such a government, representing the four-MK faction in the cabinet. In a deal reached among the parties making up the National Union on December 28, Katz committed himself to resign from the Knesset if he became a minister in order to allow the fifth candidate on the list, American native Uri Bank, become an MK.
"If the list wins four mandates and an MK is appointed a minister, the minister will immediately quit the Knesset to allow Uri Bank to enter," the agreement signed by Katz says.
But he appeared inclined to violate the deal on Thursday.
"The public voted for the National Union because of Ketzaleh," he said, referring to himself by his nickname. "If we were to leave the coalition, we wouldn't want to disappoint the public that wanted me to represent them."
Katz said he "did not want Bank to be harmed" and that a decision would be made "by consensus, in an organized and responsible way." Hinting at the role of faction manager, he said Bank "would fill an important role in the faction."
Bank said that Katz called him and promised to keep his word when it became clear that the National Union had won four seats. "I commend him for calling me at his own volition to say that he remembers the agreement and would keep it," Bank said. "I am sure that when push comes to shove, Ketzaleh will live up to his signed commitment."
National Union MK Arye Eldad said that if and when Katz becomes a minister, he expects him to honor the deal unless Bank agrees to forego a Knesset seat.
"I don't see someone as upright as Ketzaleh violating such a clear agreement," Eldad said. "If Ketzaleh becomes a minister, Uri will have to decide whether to ask Katz to quit the Knesset or whether to accept another role."