It could be that the new Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has created his first political crisis among coalition members, ousting three members of the inner cabinet. During the coalition talks, the forum somehow reached eight members.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the Yisrael Beitenu Party, told colleagues that in closed-door talks with Netanyahu, he was promised the elite forum would be limited to 5 members, making it that much more prestigious, but now, the forum numbered 8.
Lieberman’s unwillingness to accept the move have resulted in a temporary solution, that the forum will remain at 5 for now, until all parties involved can reach an agreement. Bumped from the forum are Binyamin Ben-Eliezer of Labor and Likud ministers Dan Meridor and Silvan Shalom.
Netanyahu realizes that the elite forum, which convenes to make major decisions, has gotten too large as has his cabinet perhaps. The Olmert administration kept the inner cabinet to three, the prime minister, defense minister and foreign minister.
The eight ministers were PM Netanyahu, FM Lieberman, DM Barak, as well as Ministers Begin, Meridor, Ya’alon, Ben-Eliezer and Shalom.
Lieberman was furious when he heard Netanyahu added some Likud ministers, creating enough of a storm for the new prime minister to oust two Likud and one Labor minister. The prime minister explained to his Likud colleagues that “Yvette (Lieberman) exercised his veto power”.
Shalom told associates “I don’t care what agreement he made with Lieberman. I am already a member of the inner cabinet. It was agreed upon officially.”
Seeking to escape the wrath of the ministers, Netanyahu’s aides released a well-word ambiguous statement, “At present, there are five members of the inner cabinet but we do not know who they are at present”.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)