Lapid’s ’18 Ministers’ Demand Complicates Talks

Netanyahu tries to build coalition as Lapid limits number of ministries, Bennett limits parties’ spending.

Maayana Miskin ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

Coalition talks between the Likud Beytenu, Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) parties has taken a step forward, political insiders say, and the sides are now discussing the details of which parties will be given control of what ministries.

Complicating the process is Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid’s insistence that the government be limited to 18 ministries. Lapid pledged during the elections campaign to avoid the trend of spending public money on ministries created solely to appease coalition partners.

In addition, Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett has demanded that Netanyahu not give parties that join the coalition the chance to divert public money to their own causes.

Netanyahu is reportedly struggling to meet Lapid’s demand, and is expected to push for more than 20 ministries.

Current Likud Beytenu ministers Gidon Sa'ar, Gilad Erdan, Moshe Ya'alon, Yisrael Katz, Silvan Shalom and Limor Livnat may expect ministries in the next government as well.

Gidon Sa'ar, who is currently the Education Minister, spoke about the matter publicly for the first time Tuesday, admitting that he wants to continue in his current position. “It’s not a position, it’s a mission,” he said.

Lapid has reportedly been offered the Finance Ministry, but his party has not yet responded to the offer.

Sources in Jewish Home denied reports that party head Naftali Bennett had accepted an offer from Netanyahu to serve as Finance Minister. The two did not discuss the matter, they said.

Sources in the party also said that while Bayit Yehudi and Yesh Atid have agreed to enter the coalition together, they are not coordinating regarding the distribution of ministries.