Begin Drops Defiance, Steps Down Quietly

YERUSHALAYIM -

Just days after minister without portfolio Benny Begin said he would not resign to make room in the cabinet for Gilad Erdan, it was made public on Sunday that he had in fact stepped down quietly on Friday.

Begin’s resignation only became known to the public after reporters noticed his absence from the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday and inquired about it. Subsequently, cabinet secretary Avihai Mandelblit released a letter he sent to ministers informing them of the resignation, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Now without portfolio, and without ministerial title, Begin, a senior Likud member, will be relegated to the status of an ordinary member of Knesset.

Meanwhile, in another cabinet contretemps, National Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz was refusing a rotation with Immigration and Yerushalayim Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, in which in six months the former would become an observer and the latter would become a full member.

Elkin was forced to relinquish his position as Strategic Affairs Minister when Netanyahu gave it to Erdan last week, and was compensated with the Yerushalayim portfolio, after he threatened to vent his anger by voting with the opposition.