Bayit Yehudi party leader Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to get back to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday, 8 Iyar, regarding ongoing coalition negotiations. Bennett has demanded the Ministry of Education portfolio, but the prime minister has not responded. PM Netanyahu has stated he will be keeping the ministry in Likud hands but it is clear to him at present that refusing Bennett’s demand may bring an irreparable end to talks with the Bayit Yehudi, and the party may take its 8 seats into the opposition.
Tensions between Bayit Yehudi and Likud are more than a bit stained as the former feels the latter has all but ignored the party in coalition talks. Bennett and his colleagues have stated repeatedly that while Bayit Yehudi was told it would be a major coalition partner, it has been left out of the talks until other parties received what they were seeking.
For the prime minister, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Ze’ev Elkin and Gila Gamliel are all vying for control of the ministry and handing it over to Bennett will create serious in-house problems.
Likud’s Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan, who landed the top slot in the party primaries, is also disenchanted with the prime minister. Erdan still hopes to wage a battle to become foreign minister, Channel 10 News reports, but the prime minister wishes to hold that slot for Avigdor Lieberman in the hope of bringing Yisrael Beitenu and its 6 seats into the coalition.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)