What is certain to all is that unlike coalition talks to establish the 19th Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be playing a role in the talks this time and not relying on his messengers. He is following the flow of information as he is not about to permit himself to become hostage to a coalition like the outgoing one.
It appears that before President Rivlin assigns the mandate to the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has already learned he hasn’t a prayer of becoming defense minister. Moshe Kahlon was informed he will be the finance minister, and Moshe Ya’alon is all but certain to continue as defense minister.
Mr. Netanyahu will have to draw on his years of political knowhow regarding the Ministry of Religious Services, which is in the sights of both the Shas and Bayit Yehudi parties. Working in Shas’ favor is that Rishon L’Tzion Rabi Yitzchak Yosef wants Bayit Yehudi out of the ministry, along with a long list of other prominent gedolim, rabbonim and poskim. If it comes down to it, Shas and Yahadut Hatorah can join forces and they are 13 seats against Bayit Yehudi’s eight, not at all an unlikely scenario.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)