Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana on Friday afternoon announced that he is resigning from his government position and is returning to serve as a Knesset member.
This means that the term of Yamina MK Yom Tov Kalfon, who was serving in the Knesset via the Norwegian Law, is over as of Sunday morning, eliminating the possibility that he may defect from the coalition and vote with the opposition to overthrow the government.
The Yamina party viewed Kalfon as a likely defector. However, some sources are saying that Kalfon was ousted due to the demand of Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas. Kalfon tweeted a photo of himself visiting Har HaBayis on Chol Hamoed Pesach, drawing the ire of the left-wing parties in the coalition and Ra’am.
“I have now informed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of my decision to resign from my position as Minister of Religious Affairs in order to return to being a Knesset member and to help strengthen the coalition,” Kahana stated.
Kahana’s position as Religious Affairs Minister will be filled by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
UTJ MK Uri Maklev responded to the announcement by stating: “The one who betrayed Toras Yisrael, Am Yisrael, his values and ‘principles’ now also betrays his friends and ousts them from the Knesset.”
At this point, the coalition has no chance of passing any legislation regarding religion as it not only lacks a majority but cannot risk angering Yamina MK Nir Orbach. Additionally, the coalition is now relying on the Arab Joint List to pass legislation and the party has already stated that it will not violate its agreement with Chareidi parties to avoid interfering in religious issues.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)