Yamina threatens to stay out of coalition

The source also said that Naftali Bennett did not see the coalition agreement before it was signed, but that it seems Ya'acov Litzman and Arye Deri did.

Naftali Bennett and Rafi Peretz – allies in the right-wing party Yamina (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Naftali Bennett and Rafi Peretz – allies in the right-wing party Yamina
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Netanyahu is showing us the way out,” Yamina said immediately after Likud and Blue and White signed a coalition agreement Monday night.
This may be a negotiating tactic for Yamina leader Naftali Bennett to squeeze concessions out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they meet on Tuesday evening. But a former Yamina minister said they are seriously considering sitting in the opposition.
“This is a left-wing government led by Netanyahu,” the source said. “All the things we care about are going to the [Blue and White-led] bloc. The agreement doesn’t leave us any way to have influence.
Yamina is “right-wing on economics, justice and diplomatic matters,” and the coalition agreement gives Blue and White control over two of those matters, the source said.
The judiciary is the matter that Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz debated the most before the agreement was finalized. In the end, Blue and White will appoint a justice minister who is unlikely to hold the right-wing position of opposing judicial activism, and that minister will have a seat on the Judicial Selection Committee. The Blue and White bloc’s other representative in the committee will be Derech Eretz MK Zvi Hauser, whose positions are more to the right than the rest of the bloc.
“The Right is going to be a minority in the Judicial Selection Committee,” the Yamina source said, adding that when Ayelet Shaked was justice minister, “thanks to political moves, there was an unusual occurrence where there were six members on the Right and three on the judges’ side. The most we can do now is block bad candidates.”
Regarding economic matters, Blue and White will hold the key economics, agriculture and labor and welfare portfolios, with Labor MKs Amir Peretz and Itzik Shmuly and Blue and White’s Alon Schuster, all on the economic Left, as candidates for the roles.
“This crisis was an opportunity to make major changes in the economy,” the source said. “But would Peretz [a former Histadrut chairman] take care of the unions? Of course not.”
Even on diplomatic issues, while pleased with the coalition agreement’s promise of applying sovereignty to settlements, the source was skeptical that it would actually happen, saying that “it’s all talk.”
If sovereignty does not end up happening, Gantz as defense minister will have control over authorizing construction in settlements, and a justice minister from his party will set policy for defending settlement activity before the High Court.
Bennett will meet with Netanyahu and see what he has to offer, the source said.
Another source in Yamina said Netanyahu prioritized the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) in UTJ and Shas over them.
“He is prime minister because we stayed loyal to him,” the source said. “But he is loyal to Shas and UTJ and not to us. The situation is pretty clear. The haredim got whatever was important to them. They got the [haredi enlistment] bill with the points they wanted. Netanyahu was willing to go to a fourth election to keep [UTJ leader Ya’acov] Litzman in the Health Ministry.”
Bennett did not see the coalition agreement before it was signed, but it seems Litzman and Shas leader Arye Deri did, the source said.
Netanyahu may try to break up Yamina, which is made up of Bayit Yehudi, the National Union and the New Right, by offering a ministry to Rafi Peretz, the only MK from Bayit Yehudi, the source said. Peretz likely would take the position because he is expected to lose a leadership primary in his party, the source said.