Incoming Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel clarified that while the ministry he is about to receive is significant, he was expecting a more senior cabinet appointment. In an interview with Kol Chai Radio the minister explained “In the beginning of the process I wanted a better appointment and while the Agriculture Ministry is not the default, it contains important components and it is far from a simply ministry. The appointment includes responsibility for the WZO Settlement Division and this is very important to us and we made certain to include this in negotiations surrounding the coalition agreement”.
He addressed reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is seeking to expand the narrow coalition by bringing in the Labor party. Ariel feels this is far from occurring, adding the inclusion of Labor is more in the realm of theoretical than reality. He added “If Labor is willing to accept the guidelines of the coalition then there is nothing stopping the party from entering”.
Ariel is the head of the Tekuma party, which aligned with Bayit Yehudi. As per the agreement between Tekuma and Bayit Yehudi, Ariel is number two on the lineup, leading him to expect a more senior appointment; perhaps the Justice Ministry which was given to Bayit Yehudi’s Ayelet Shaked, not Ariel.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)