New Right extremist leader MK Naftali Bennett is expected to become military minister after his position is approved by the interim cabinet so the New Right can and will unite with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.
The offer was brought by Netanyahu to Bennett when the two met in Netanyahu’s office on Friday morning.
Bennett accepted the offer and it will be brought up for the interim cabinet’s approval on the cabinet’s next session. Bennett also agreed to resign from War if another person is appointed to the position once a new cabinet is formed.
Bennett’s extremist New Right party is expected to form a joint list with Netanyahu’s Likud and act as a single party throughout the 22nd Knesset nomination.
Netanyahu offered Bennett two options: one being two “minor” positions for him and former justice minister MK Ayelet Shaked, or the Defense Ministry. The decision to choose the latter was in agreement between Bennett and Shaked.
Netanyahu offered us [three ministries]: the Agriculture [Ministry], the Diaspora [Ministry] and the Welfare [Ministry], or just the Defense [Ministry],” Shaked said on Twitter. “We jointly decided that Bennett be appointed Defense Minister until a new cabinet is formed”.
Gantz’s Blue and White party criticized the appointment, saying that “instead of promoting the cabinet that the people elected and wanted, Netanyahu keeps fortifying his immunity bloc and barricading himself in it.
The appointment of a [placeholder] to Defense Minister is an inappropriate [decision] for the most sensitive system in the country, and for the State of Israel.
As usual Netanyahu, Bennett’s cynical appointment is done out of a narrow political and personal interest and not out of a broader view of what is best for the defense system and not the State of Israel.
Like this Blue and White will keep [using its best endeavors] to form [any] government in general and a unity government in particular.
He criticized Netanyahu, adding that “the amount of times he had said that Bennett is childish and irresponsible is countless. Now he puts the system that keeps our children’s lives in his hands.
Because of his criminal cases, Bibi [Netanyahu] puts his narrow interest above the country. The eyes of the voters are upon us. We will keep aiming to form a broad unity government that [would] work for the benefit of the public and not for that of its own.
Former prime minister Ehud Barak said on Twitter that the public “already knows why” Bennett was appointed defense minister. He claimed Netanyahu had abused his power appointing Bennett, and added that “it is not a very legal step in an interim cabinet.
MK Ilan Gilon, Democratic Union, also criticized the appointment, saying that “from a persona non-grata [Bennett turned into Netanyahu’s] most loyal soldier, and now comes the prize, at our expense, obviously.”
Loyalty to immunity is the only requirement for getting a job in Netanyahu’s regime. Looks like [he] did, after all, learn something at the terrorism workshop.
Bennett’s appointment comes 13 days before the expiration of the mandate given to Blue and White leader, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz to form a government.
Earlier on Friday, the winner of the Zionist elections in Israel Gantz accused Netanyahu’s Likud of not being interested in forming a unity government.
The former chief of staff said that while his party’s main goal is “establishing a broad, liberal, unity government,” he is “examining other options to establish a government if negotiations with Likud do not come to fruition.”
A recent poll found that in case a third parliamentary election takes place, 39% of voters would blame Netanyahu for the fact that a unity government is not formed, while only 19% would blame Gantz.
Earlier on Friday, Netanyahu gave Interior Minister MK Aryeh Deri the go-ahead on advancing a direct election between him and Gantz. The initiative was first brought up by Deri earlier this week.
Jerusalem Post / ABC Flash Point News 2019.