Bennett Says Won’t Rule Out Sitting Under Netanyahu in Future Gov’t


Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a graduation ceremony for soldiers who have completed the IAF Flight Course, at the Hatzerim Air Base in the Negev desert, Thursday. (Flash90)

While there are still a number of parliamentary hurdles to clear, the Knesset may disperse as early as Monday evening, exactly a week after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s announcement to that effect.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Friday that negotiations to form an alternate government led by opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu had been exhausted, leaving elections as the only remaining option.

Meanwhile, Bennett’s political future is unclear. He met with longtime political partner Shaked on Friday for the first time since his announcement, which he made while she was on an official visit to Morocco. The two are set to meet again on Sunday, presumably to discuss their political future.

In interviews on all three major news outlets aired on Motzoei Shabbos, Bennett said that he would not announce his plans for the future until the Knesset officially disperses.

According to the coalition agreements, once the government interchanges, Bennett was meant to become interior minister, Shaked justice minister, and Gideon Sa’ar was to become foreign minister. However, these changes require Knesset approval, and the coalition does not have a majority.

If Bennett decides to leave politics either permanently or temporarily, Shaked will probably take over the leadership of Yamina. If he decides to remain, however, she may choose to end the partnership and leave the party, which won only four seats in a poll published on Friday.

Bennett did not rule out joining a Netanyahu-led government. “Netanyahu style 2015 is ok,” but not if he does things that are unacceptable, Bennett said in an interview with Channel 12.

Whether the Knesset disperses on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday will depend on the result of ongoing negotiations between coalition whip MK Boaz Toporovsky (Yesh Atid) and opposition whip MK Yariv Levin (Likud) over which bills will pass into law before the Knesset shuts down.

The ministerial committee on legislation will vote on 39 bills on Sunday. Most notable is the controversial bill that will prevent an MK under criminal proceedings for offenses punishable by at least three years in prison from forming a government. The law, known as the “Defendant’s Law,” will apply to Netanyahu, who is standing trial for one count of bribery and three counts of fraud and breach of trust.

The law is not expected to pass, both because there is not enough time left to push it through the legislative process and because it may be struck down by the High Court due to its proximity to the election.

The coalition will also bring forward a law that will block a prime minister from serving more than eight straight years. While considered less controversial, the law is also not expected to pass.

Coalition members also reached out to the opposition in a bid to vote together to extend the directive granting residency rights to Israelis living in Yehudah and Shomron. The official reason Bennett and Lapid decided to disband the Knesset was in order to extend the legislation, which otherwise would have expired at the end of June.

However, the automatic extension lasts only half a year, while the legislative extension would be for five years. But the opposition said that they would not cooperate, presumably in order to trip up Lapid, who may be attempting to form a government in six months with the assistance of Arab parties who oppose the directive.

In other election news, Yisrael Beytenu won’t join a government with Netanyahu or with the chareidi parties, party leader and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Channel 12 on Saturday evening.

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