As coalition talks continue, Shas leader Aryeh Deri told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is seeking total control of the Ministry of Religious Services. Deri was clearly responding to the compromise solution presented by Mr. Netanyahu to Shas and the Bayit Yehudi party, both seeking control of the ministry. According to the prime minister’s plan, he would serve as minister of religious services and both Shas and Bayit Yehudi would have a deputy minister. While it is rumored Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett is willing to accept the compromise, Deri is not.
Deri is planning to serve as minister of the interior. If the number of cabinet ministers is increased from 18 to 21, based on the formula of one cabinet post for each three MKs, then Deri will seek to appoint Yaakov Margi as minister of religious services. If this is not the case, he will be the only person in Shas serving on the cabinet and he envisions running both ministries.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)