Likud Won’t Budge, Yamina Out of Coalition

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel government yamina
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett at the campaign launch of the Yamina Party on February 12, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

With only hours to go before the swearing-in of the new government, a final bid to bridge the gap between Likud and Yamina failed late Wednesday afternoon, signaling the breakup of the right-wing bloc.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ reportedly repeated a previous offer to Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, which the latter turned down.

The proposal includes the Education Ministry, Yerushalayim portfolio, a Deputy Minister responsible for the National Service and Settlement affairs, and chairmanship of the Knesset Absorption Committee for half the term.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the negotiations were conducted by phone.

Afterwards, Bennett tweeted, “The decision is Netanyahu’s. As I have said from the start, we are only interested in entering a govt where we would have influence, and influence comes from the issues for which we would be responsible. If the PM wants us in positions of influence we would be happy to enter, but if he wants us weak and on the fringes we would rather be in the opposition.”

Earlier in the day, chareidi party leaders urged Netanyahu to make every effort to bring Yamina into the coalition.

Shas chairman Rabbi Aryeh Deri, and United Torah Judaism leaders Rabbi Yaakov Litzman and Rabbi Moshe Gafni, sent a letter to the Prime Minister:

“We would like you to act in every way so that the Yamina party…will find its place with us as an integral part of the right-wing bloc together in the coalition formed by the Likud and Blue and White,” the letter read, as quoted by Arutz Sheva.