Report: Compromise Reached Between Smotrich and Netanyahu

Religious Zionist head Betzalel Smotrich attends a discussion in the Knesset, Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to a report by Channel 12, it seems that a breakthrough has been reached in the coalition negotiation meeting between Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu and Religious Zionism party chairman MK Betzalel Smotrich, held on Monday afternoon.

Under the compromise, Smotrich would waive his demands for the defense portfolio and would be appointed Finance Minister in the new government. He would also receive a minister in the Defense Ministry.

Shas chairman MK Rabbi Aryeh Deri would be appointed deputy prime minister, interior minister, religious affairs minister, and minister of the Negev and Galilee.

The Otzma Yehudit party would receive the Agriculture Ministry – instead of the Negev and Galilee Ministry – and seemingly MK Yitzchak Wasserlauf would be the most likely candidate to become agriculture minister.

Earlier Monday, it was reported that Smotrich told the Likud that he is willing to give up on his demand to be defense minister if he receives the Finance Ministry with additional responsibilities that usually belong to the defense minister.

The specific defense responsibilities that Smotrich demanded to be transferred to him were those relating to civil administration in Yehudah and Shomron, including taking over COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) and responsibility for enforcing the law in the open spaces in Yehudah and Shomron.

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