Lapid and Bennett at Knesset swear in 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett is the leading contender for the Finance
Ministry, as Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid did not accept Likud Beytenu’s offer
of the portfolio Tuesday.
A senior Likud Beytenu source said Lapid had
been offered the Finance Ministry and the party would keep the Foreign Ministry,
Lapid’s preferred portfolio.
Lapid has yet to give Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu an answer, but sources in his party say he will continue to
push for the Foreign Ministry, with the Interior Ministry as his second
No progress was made on coalition negotiations on Tuesday, mainly
due to the impasse over the Foreign Ministry and Yesh Atid’s demand that there
be only 18 ministers.
Bayit Yehudi told Likud Beytenu’s negotiating team
that despite the pact between the two parties, they have no problem with a
larger number of portfolios.
Netanyahu is expected to face difficulties
selecting ministers within his party if the number of appointees drops to 18, as
he seeks a majority for Likud Beytenu within the government.
In such a
situation, six or seven Likud MKs and three Yisrael Beytenu MKs would get
portfolios, while nine 19th Knesset MKs from the former party and four from the
latter are currently ministers.
As part of the agreement between Yesh
Atid and Bayit Yehudi, the two parties are not competing over the same
Bennett’s party has requested that he receive the Finance
Ministry and that the Housing and Construction; Transportation; and Religious
Services portfolios go to Bayit Yehudi, a party source said.
has asked for the Interior; Education; and Communications portfolios, in
addition to the Foreign Ministry for Lapid.
The battle for the Education
Ministry is expected to be rough, since current minister Gideon Sa’ar, who came in first
place in the Likud primary, hopes to remain in his seat.
“I have been
asked if I will continue as education minister in the next government,” he said
at a school principals’ conference at the Dead Sea Tuesday. “In the current
political reality, I simply do not know, but I want you to know that I would
like to continue.”
Sa’ar added that in his eyes, education minister is
not just a job but national mission and responsibility.
following the realization that they will not sit in the next coalition, haredi
parties have already begun acting as a fighting opposition.
MK Uri Maklev
(United Torah Judaism) proposed a bill to dissolve the Knesset and call a new
election on Tuesday, explaining that “the State of Israel will be run by
inexperienced people who are motivated by hatred of the other.”
Iranian threat still stands, with the regime in Tehran gathering new
technologies to develop nuclear weapons. In addition, our Palestinian neighbors
are gaining international support to declare another Arab state next to Israel,”
the bill’s explanatory portion lists as reasons a more experienced government is
Maklev explained that if another election is held, Netanyahu
would be able to form a government quickly, which would unite the nation and
include parties from all parts of the political spectrum.