Attempts were made over the weekend to fix internal conflicts inside Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s governing coalition ahead of key votes on the state budget.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to resolve a dispute about her visit last week to the United Arab Emirates. The Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted a minister criticizing Shaked for saying in the UAE that she opposed the creation of a Palestinian State.
The anonymous minister was quoted by columnist Sima Kadmon saying that making such a statement in Abu Dhabi was either sabotaging the peace agreement with the UAE or proved that she did not understand Israel’s foreign relations.
In a post on Facebook, Shaked bashed the minister, who her associates said was Lapid. She wrote that her Emirati counterpart called her to tell her that her visit was a great success and said she received an impression that the Palestinians are not a big issue for the UAE’s leaders. She vowed to continue to air her view against a Palestinian state no matter where she goes.
Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar told Channel 12 on Saturday night that Shaked had the right to speak her mind.
“All these internal disputes are a waste,” Sa’ar said. “It is important to know when to have restraint.”
Efforts were also made over the weekend to heal a rift between Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, after Bennett did not tell Gantz in advance that he would reveal in his Knesset speech that there was a secret operation to obtain information on missing airman Ron Arad. Bennett’s associates blamed Gantz for press reports that the operation was a failure.
“Despite rumors and deceitful briefings that I have gotten used to over the past two years, I have great satisfaction from my job as defense minister, a post with wide national responsibility for the fate of the country I fought for,” Gantz wrote on Facebook. “I think the government is functioning well.”
Channel 13 reported over the weekend that Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party would soon hold a leadership race. According to the report, Yesh Atid MKs were told last week that there would be a party convention in the next two months in which guidelines for the race would be set. No one is expected to challenge Lapid.
Sources in the party called the report premature. They said an initial meeting to start the process will be held on October 21.