Coalition crisis ends with forming of committee

Stop threatening elections, Bennett tells counterparts.

Naftali Bennett (photo credit: REUTERS)
Naftali Bennett
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The heads of the parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition decided on Wednesday to settle their differences in a new committee tasked with bridging gaps with representatives from each party.
No compromises were reached at Wednesday’s meeting, which only lasted an hour. But an official who was present said the atmosphere was positive and that none of the party heads said they wanted an early election.
“The State of Israel needs a stable, strong and responsible government,” Netanyahu said at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting. “I call on all the members of the coalition to work together, to continue to work together, for the benefit of the State of Israel and its citizens.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid told reporters at a Jerusalem press conference that “elections are not what the State of Israel needs now,” and “there is no reason to go to elections. He said there was no real coalition crisis.
At the meeting of party heads, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett turned to his counterparts and said, “Don’t threaten us with crises every week. If there is anyone here who doesn’t fear elections it’s me.”
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu sparred with Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom at the cabinet meeting over a plan to build trade schools in the periphery. Shalom said the plan would deepen socioeconomic gaps and vowed to fight it.
When Netanyahu defended the plan, Shalom said the prime minister should send his own son to become a mechanic. When Netanyahu accused Shalom, who was raised in Beersheba, of having trauma from his youth, Shalom, who has four academic degrees, said he was in the honors track in school.
“You weren’t raised or educated here, so you can’t understand,” Shalom told Netanyahu, who attended high school outside Philadelphia and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.