Battle in Bayit Yehudi heats up

Ariel: Bennett achieved nothing.

Bayit Yehudi's Uri Ariel (L) and Naftali Bennett (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Bayit Yehudi's Uri Ariel (L) and Naftali Bennett
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Two days after Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman became defense minister, the Bayit Yehudi Party, which did not obtain a top portfolio, erupted in internal chaos Wednesday.
Tensions have risen in the party after its leader, Naftali Bennett, was not appointed foreign minister despite having eight seats, compared to Yisrael Beytenu’s five.
Bennett and his No. 2, Construction Minister Uri Ariel, have fought behind the scenes for years, but their fight became public Wednesday.
Ariel told Army Radio that Bennett was wrong to boast about winning a dispute with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the appointment of a military secretary as a liaison to the security cabinet.
“What did he achieve?” Ariel asked? “The head of the National Security Council is already responsible for briefing ministers. Why make headlines all day? I recommend to also look at the facts, and the truth is also an option.”
Bennett was reportedly enraged by Ariel’s attack on him, which came when he was working hard to create an impression that he had won something important from Netanyahu, despite not receiving a political promotion.
“What Ariel said was crazy,” a senior Bayit Yehudi official said.
“It is certainly not helpful to the relations between the two. This is the first time he attacked Bennett up front.”
The official said Ariel was upset at Bennett because he thought the leader of the party had leaked to the press a quote from Ariel attacking Bennett in Monday’s closed-door Bayit Yehudi faction meeting.
Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev went as far as to propose that all who were present at the meeting take a lie detector test.