The deal between the Bayit Yehudi and Ichud Leumi parties ahead of elections for 22nd Knesset is deadlocked. The situation surrounds the old agreement, specifically the paragraph addressing Betzalel Smotrich has the first choice regarding the ministerial appointments offered to the party. The issue surrounds the fact that Smotrich wishes to take the Education Ministry, which Peretz has announced he will be taking, leaving the Ministry of Transportation for Smotrich.
After PM Netanyahu handed the Justice Ministry portfolio to Amir Ochana, he then gave the Transportation Ministry to Smotrich, who feels that in line with the agreement signed with Ichud Leumi, he should have first choice and as such, he wants to the Education Ministry which was taken by Peretz. Smotrich has agreed to permit Peretz to continue as Education Minister during the transition government however, reportedly towards creating an atmosphere of achdus ahead of elections.
Smotrich officially denies the accuracy of the report, insisting he and Peretz are on the same page and they will be signing a new agreement shortly. He insists “all parties to the right of Likud” must unite with them, adding, “We do not have the privilege to lose thousands of right-wing votes”.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)