Lapid Livid Over Enlarging of Cabinet

Likud announces Knesset vote on enlarging the cabinet from 18 ministries to 20, evoking threats from Yesh Atid.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Knesset will vote next week on enlarging the cabinet from 18 ministries to 20, the Likud party announced on Friday.

The move is meant to appease senior members of the Likud party who have been demanding portfolios and who feel left out after many portfolios were handed out to parties that joined the new coalition, specifically the Jewish Home and Shas.

"Following the vote Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will begin the process of allocating responsibilities for government ministries and other duties in the government and parliament to members of Likud," the Likud said in a statement.

Frustrated Likud members on Thursday threatened not to support the bill to enlarge the cabinet unless they are expressly told by Netanyahu what positions they will receive.

One report said that Negev and Galilee Minister Silvan Shalom is threatening not to support the bill unless he is appointed Foreign Minister, saying if he doesn't receive it "I'm out," possibly indicating he will not support either the bill or the government.

Ministers Gilad Erdan and Yuval Steinitz also reportedly demanded the foreign portfolio, with Netanyahu said to be inclined to appoint Erdan as Internal Security minister instead. On Friday it was reported that Netanyahu is anticipated to keep the Foreign Ministry for himself.

Ayoub Kara became the first Likud MK to openly threaten Netanyahu, saying on Thursday he will not to show up for the swearing-in of the new government if he is not appointed minister.

"No one is talking to me, I have not been invited to a meeting regarding the possibility that I will be appointed minister,” he complained. “I will want to know, in case Netanyahu does not appoint me, if this is because of personal motives. If the problem is personal, then I do not mind if someone else is appointed, but if he intends to ignore the Druze community, and not appoint anyone from the community or from the minorities as a minister in his government, that is a serious matter.”

Meanwhile, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who spearheaded the law that reduced the number of ministers in the cabinet, expressed outrage on Friday afternoon over the fact that the cabinet will be enlarged.

In a statement, Lapid threatened to appeal to the Supreme Court against the vote and his party sent warning letters on the issue to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

"The truth must be told and heard," Yesh Atid charged. "The Prime Minister is taking advantage of the fact that the Knesset Speaker is a senior member of his party. Otherwise, he would not have dared to cause substantial and far-reaching harm to a provision of the Basic Law on short notice and using a temporary committee.”

"We are witnessing a cynical trick of changing of rules for the self-preservation and greed expounded by the Prime Minister," said the party, which called the move “outrageous” and saying it will “deal a fatal blow to the status and dignity of the Knesset."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)