Netanyahu to Appoint Bennett Education Minister

After coalition crisis as Jewish Home walks out of talks, Likud tells party its request for education portfolio will be granted.

Ido Ben-Porat ,

Netanyahu and Bennett
Netanyahu and Bennett
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

After Jewish Home cut off coalition negotiations, Likud representatives have indicated to the party Tuesday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will grant its chairman Naftali Bennett his request to become the education minister in the coalescing coalition.

Bennett lost no time in demanding a budget increase for the ministry to the tune of a billion shekels ($260 million) according to Channel 2, with the large expenses meant to add an additional assistant in every kindergarten with over 30 children, and to continue the summer camp program initiated by previous Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid).

Earlier Jewish Home met to express its anger over how coalition talks with Likud are progressing slowly, with one senior MK in the party even suggesting that it turn turn to the leftist Labor party to turn up the heat on Netanyahu.

The coalition agreements being formulated are also to advance a law allowing Israeli citizens abroad to vote, which Netanyahu has pushed for since 1997 under the assumption that most Israelis abroad tend to vote for the nationalist camp.

Jewish Home's demands to curb Supreme Court activism are also to be included in the coalition agreements other than the agreement with Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party, which opposes reducing the Supreme Court's power.

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri meanwhile is demanding to be appointed minister in three portfolios - finance, religious affairs and a portfolio that was not detailed. Jewish Home continues to oppose Shas's demand for complete control of the Religious Affairs Ministry, while the finance ministry looks more likely to go to Kulanu.

An agreement between Kulanu and Likud is being held up due to Kahlon's demand that former IDF commander Yoav Galant of his party be added to the Security Cabinet. Netanyahu has firmly rejected this demand.

Earlier on Tuesday the haredi party United Torah Judaism (UTJ) reached a coalition agreement draft with Likud, with the draft to be brought before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and UTJ's rabbinical council. It is expected to receive a final signing either later Tuesday night or else Wednesday morning.

Among the agreements that UTJ was able to achieve in the talks is a cancellation of the cut in budgets for yeshiva Torah academies which the outgoing coalition government implemented, as well as a freeze on the controversial conversion law.