Report: Tensions on the Rise in Prime Minister’s Office

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrives for a weekly Cabinet meeting at his office in Yerushalayim. (Ariel Schalit/Pool via REUTERS)

Tensions are on the rise at the Prime Minister’s Office, according to a new report by Channel 12.

According to sources in Bennett’s office and that of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Middle East analyst turned Bennett adviser Shimrit Meir has been working to diminish the influence of other individuals and is responsible for recent leaks to the media. She is also determining Bennett’s political strategy, they said.

Yisrael Hayom recently revealed that internal relations at the country’s most important bureau were deteriorating due largely to Meir’s central role in the decision-making process. According to sources, Meir was even involved in drafting statements to be delivered by Bennett’s spokespeople, which were sent to her for review and approval prior to their release.

The assessment is that Meir is now involved at the political level as well.

According to Yisrael Hayom, Bennett would not have approved Ra’am party head Mansour Abbas’s meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman or Meretz member and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawei Frej’s attendance of a conference to raise funds for the Palestinian Authority in Oslo were it not for Meir’s support for the moves.

Earlier, on Sept. 24, Yisrael Hayom revealed that veteran Bennett adviser Moshe Klughaft has also noted having less influence on the Prime Minister than he had expected, given Meir’s dominant role.

In a statement, Bennett’s office said, “The Prime Minister has full confidence in his diplomatic adviser’s talents and dedication. Meir is working to promote the Prime Minister’s political work, whether by building ties with the Biden administration, the Europeans, Egypt and Jordan, or by the speedy resolution to the crisis with Turkey, and others. These have been six successful months by any standard, and we are proud of them. We will note that Meir is not involved in politics.”