Disgruntlement in the Security Cabinet over the deal with Turkey centered not only on the terms of the agreement, but also on the way it was presented to the ministers, as a fait accompli.
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett charged that they had not been kept informed and that the Cabinet was being treated by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a rubber stamp. The agreement had already been signed, and it was the first time that the Cabinet had held a formal discussion of it.
The ministers were allotted a mere four-and-a-half hours to study the agreement and vote it up or down on Wednesday. The assumption on the prime minister’s part that they would approve it no doubt added to the irritation of those three who voted against it, as well as the seven who supported it despite reservations about the $21million compensation to Turkey and the failure to secure the return of Israelis in Gaza.
In a written appeal to the ministers on Tuesday, the family of Hadar Goldin, Hy”d, an IDF soldier whose body is still held by Hamas, zeroed in on the sensitive point:
“Using an undemocratic procedure, the Prime Minister signed the agreement, and only afterwards it is presented for your approval. Are you rubber stamps? The responsibility to bringing back our boys depends on you and on your vote,” their letter concluded.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Tuesday that he was bitter over the fact that Netanyahu had settled with Turkey without ever consulting the Cabinet, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The reaction was such that as of Tuesday night the prime minister’s office was worried that it might not have a majority to approve the deal.
However, sources close to Netanyahu were quoted by Arutz Sheva as saying that the ministers knew about the talks and the impending deal, and Bennett’s complaint was groundless.
To be sure, those who voted against it—Liberman, Bennett and Shaked—did so on grounds of substance, not procedure; but the prime minister’s handling of it certainly exacerbated the situation.