Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday night began a process of punishing Yamina MK Idit Silman for her resignation from the coalition following her refusal on Monday to support the reinstatement of Matan Kahana as religious affairs minister.
Until now, Bennett treated Silman with kid gloves in the hope that she would support the coalition from the outside, but has now changed tactics, with an announcement made in the Knesset overnight Monday that Silman was being removed from the Knesset’s House Committee and being replaced with Yamina MK Shirly Pinto. In addition, Pinto, who had demanded to replace Silman as head of the Knesset’s Health Committee, was added to the health committee to serve as a warning to Silman that she may soon be removed from that committee as well if she votes against Kahana’s reappointment.
According to a Walla report, Bennett did not inform his party members of his decision regarding Silman beforehand, including MK Nir Orbach, the chairman of the House Committee, which approves the members of the Knesset committees.
Meanwhile, the Arab Joint List, which was being pressured by the coalition to vote for Kahana’s reappointment as minister, announced that they would not do so, likely due to the party’s long-standing agreement with the Chareidi parties not to interfere with each other’s religious issues.
However, Kahana was appointed as the deputy religious affairs minister on Monday, which only requires a cabinet vote and not a Knesset vote, which allows him to continue running the ministry.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)