Peretz to Get Education, Smotrich Transportation, Report Says

YERUSHALAYIM -
Heads of the United Right political Party Rabbi Rafi Peretz (R) and MK Betzalel Smotrich. (Flash90)

At a late night meeting Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to an agreement with United Right List leaders Rafi Peretz and Bezalel Smotrich on their appointments to government offices, Yediot Acharonot reported Friday.

Peretz will be named education minister, while Smotrich will get the Transportation portfolio, with “expanded responsibilities” in other areas. The report did not specify what those responsibilities would be.

The meeting resolves a mini-dust up between the United Right MKs that erupted over the appointment of Likud MK Amir Ohana as Justice Minister – a job Smotrich had insisted on as the party’s price for entering a Netanyahu-led coalition. Although a government has not been formed, Ohana, and all other ministers, will serve in their capacities as part of Netanyahu’s caretaker government.

Smotrich had criticized Netanyahu over the move, and demanded that he be appointed education minister, as per an agreement he said he came to with Peretz over ministerial appointments. Peretz, for his part, defended Netanyahu, and supporters of his in the party said that he was to be appointed education minister. The meeting Thursday night resolves the issue.

In mutual social media posts Thursday, both Peretz and Smotrich proclaimed that the United Right list would remain united. Peretz said that he and Smotrich “will continue to work together as partners and will join the next government together, working together as we have throughout our political journey.”

In response, Smotrich wrote that “no one will succeed in breaking the unity of Religious Zionism. Unity is more important than anything else. Anyone trying to divide us must be ejected from our camp today – otherwise it will never stop.”