Bennett to coalition: Don’t rock the boat before budget vote

'There is no point in rocking the boat,' the prime minister said, urging members of his government not to fight with each other until the state budget passes into law on November 4.

  Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, October 17, 2021.  (photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the cabinet meeting, October 17, 2021.
(photo credit: ALEX KOLOMOISKY / POOL)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett begged his ministers at Sunday’s cabinet meeting not to fight with each other until the state budget passes into law by November 4.

Bennett spoke amid disagreements inside his coalition on legislation and on diplomatic issues. The coalition has a razor-thin 61-59 MK majority in the Knesset.

“Let us focus, especially in the weeks ahead, on what unites us and not what divides us,” Bennett said. “There is no point in rocking the boat. Even when you are dying to respond and you are sure you are right, think about the wider goal. The nation has had enough disputes and petty arguments, and expects us, members of the cabinet and coalition, to be different. I am convinced we can succeed.”

One dispute that could heat up is over the Intelligence Services portfolio of Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern. The post was set to be given to former Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar if Stern would have been chosen to head the Jewish Agency.

But Stern dropped out of the agency race last week following a dispute over his admission that he shredded anonymous sexual harassment complaints while serving as the head of the IDF's Manpower Directorate. It remains to be seen what can be done to prevent Avidar from rebelling against the coalition.

 Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern seen during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, on October13, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern seen during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, on October13, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Meretz MK Mossi Raz responded to Bennett that he agrees that coalition MKs should not focus on issues they disagree on. But he said there should be no dispute over violence, and that the prime minister and his government should unite in condemning what he called a “pogrom” by settlers against Palestinians in the village Burin.

Bennett will be speaking about violence on Monday at a special Knesset session on the 26th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The meeting will also be addressed by former prime minister and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, and ministers Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Gideon Sa’ar and Merav Michaeli. President Isaac Herzog will attend.

It will be the third Monday in a row where Bennett and Netanyahu face off in the plenum.