With only 12 days left to present his new governing coalition to the president, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu met with Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett on Friday, reportedly offering his Jewish Home party a host of attractive positions.
Bennett himself was said to have been offered the Strategic Affairs Ministry, in addition to the Economy Ministry which he currently holds. The party’s no. 3, Ayelet Shaked, was said to be headed to the Ministry of Culture and Sport, and Uri Ariel was to receive the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The office he currently holds, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, was said to be earmarked for Kulanu member Yoav Galant.
The Jewish Home party was also offered the role of deputy minister for one of its members in an unnamed ministry, and the chairmanship of a major Knesset committee, most likely the influential Constitution, Law and Justice committee, according to Channel 2.
A major stumbling block in negotiations remains Jewish Home’s wrangling with Shas over the Religious Affairs portfolio, according to the TV report. Jewish Home held the office in the outgoing government, but Netanyahu’s reported promise to now deliver the ministry to Aryeh Deri’s party has enraged Bennett. The post was also coveted by Yisrael Beytenu, led by Avigdor Liberman, who is expected to remain at the Foreign Ministry. Netanyahu and Liberman also held talks Friday.
The prime minister has been racing the clock in order establish a new government by the May 7 deadline. Under Israeli election rules, if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition by that date, President Reuven Rivlin can assign someone else the task of doing so.
Read more at Times of Israel.