Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told close associates that he is “considering retiring” from the government as soon as the premiership is transferred to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Kan News reported on Sunday evening.
If he does stay in the government in the position of alternative prime minister, he will do so only to assist Lapid with security issues, he said. The move is apparently an attempt to fulfill his promise that he’ll never sit in a government under Yair Lapid.
Bennett met with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Matan Kahana on Sunday to discuss the future of Yamina, telling them that it’s likely he will not be running for the 25th Knesset. It was agreed that if Bennett does retire from politics, Shaked will take over as the head of the party, despite reports that Bennett prefers to hand over the reigns of the party to Kahana, one of the only party members who remained completely loyal to Bennett.
If Shaked does take over Yamina, Kahana may leave the party as he apparently agrees with Bennett in opposing a narrow right-wing government, claiming that Israel “needs” a unity government that includes the right to the left, without the “extremist fringe parties.” Additionally, Kahana refuses to sit in a government under Netanyahu, unlike Shaked, who publicly said that she is prepared to form a government with the Likud under Netanyahu, already in the current Knesset.
It’s not clear whether Kahana will leave politics altogether or perhaps join another party such as New Hope or Blue and White.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)