Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Conflicting reports emerged simultaneously on Tuesday that coalition
allies Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali
Bennett had both been offered the Finance Ministry.
Likud official said that Lapid had been offered the Finance portfolio
and added that Likud-Beytenu will keep the Foreign Ministry
sources from the Bayit Yehudi party said that the chances that Bennett
would become Finance Minister were increasing, according to a Channel 10 report.
However, Bennett's office denied the reports and said that such an
arrangement had not yet been agreed upon. The
report cited sources from Yesh Atid, which is coordinating with Bayit
Yehudi in coalition talks, as saying they would not be surprised if
Bennett gets the Finance Ministry portfolio.
developments made clearer the likely makeup of the top tier of
ministries in the next government, with Bennett or Lapid as Finance
Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) likely to be Defense Minister and Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu holding the Foreign Ministry for Yisrael Beytenu leader
Avigdor Liberman, who is currently facing a corruption trial.
has long been the leading candidate for the Defense Ministry, as he has
the best credentials in the Knesset except for Kadima leader Shaul
Mofaz, whose party is most likely too small for him to take the
On Monday, Bennett expressed optimism about the formation of
the next coalition in a faction meeting, while Lapid warned of possible surprises.
Meanwhile, Labor leader Shelly
Yacimovich insisted that she will remain in the opposition, despite efforts by
haredi parties to convince her otherwise.
Bennett opened the Bayit Yehudi
faction meeting by describing a hiking trip he took recently and the greenery he
“The political field is also moving from winter to spring. That is
the source of a good atmosphere and a lot of goodwill to form a government,” he
The Bayit Yehudi leader’s optimism may stem from Likud Beytenu’s
support for his party’s demand that Bennett be the next finance
Channel 10 news reported that Likud Beytenu would have no
problem with Bennett taking that post, as the two parties have similar stances
on economic issues.
Bennett added that his party is “rolling up its
sleeves” to help the prime minister form the widest coalition