Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud-Yisrael Beytenu) said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was taking away some of his ministry’s responsibilities, as punishment for Katz voting against the release of 104 terrorists as a “gesture” to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"I voted against the release of terrorist murderers as a condition for starting negotiations, remember? I even had an argument with the Prime Minister about it. Well, now comes the 'punishment',” wrote Katz on his Facebook page.
"At the Cabinet meeting this coming Sunday, the name of my Ministry - ‘Transportation, National Infrastructure and Road Safety’ - will be changed so that the ‘Natural Infrastructure’ is removed and transferred to the Ministry of Energy and Water,” he added.
Katz noted that despite the “punishment”, he does not intend to give in to the political pressure and will continue to vote only according to his conscience.
"I'm going to continue to vote against releasing murderers of Jews any time the subject will come up,” he stressed, adding, “I will continue to lead the revolution in infrastructure just as I did before.”
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office rejected Katz's claims in a conversation with Arutz Sheva on Wednesday evening, and said that the decision to move the responsibility for national infrastructure to the Water and Energy Ministry was made long before the vote on the release of terrorists.
Katz was one of seven ministers who voted against releasing terrorists during a Cabinet discussion on July 28. In addition to Katz, the following ministers voted against: Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, all (Likud / Yisrael Beytenu); as well as Economics Minister Naftaliu Bennett, Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Minister for Pensioners Uri Orbach, (Bayit Yehudi).