Bennett resigns, in order to return to Knesset

Jewish Home Chairman steps down as minister so that he can rejoin the Knesset, following Yinon Magal's resignation.

Hezki Baruch,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Marc Israel Sellem / Flash 90

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett handed in a letter of resignation from the government Wednesday. The resignation will go into force Sunday at 10 a.m., just as the government convenes its weekly cabinet meeting.

The resignation is a technical and temporary move, however, which is intended to allow Bennett to regain his status as Knesset Member, alongside his ministerial position.

Bennett resigned from the Knesset in October, following the passing of the so-called Norwegian Law, which allows ministers to give up their parliamentary seats while maintaining their ministerial posts. The seat he vacated allowed Shuli Mualem to be sworn in as Knesset Member.

This week, however, another Jewish Home Knesset seat became vacant, after MK Yinon Magal's resignation following allegations of sexual harassment by previous coworkers. The next two people on the Jewish Home roster, Avi Wortzman and Nir Orbach announced that they were not interested in filling Magal's spot – Wortzman because he would rather continue his current employment as director a village for children with special needs, and Orbach because he would rather continue as the Jewish Home's director general. As a result Bennett decided to rejoin the Knesset by resigning from his ministerial position.

Bennett's resignation will also put a technical end to MK Meir Porush's term as deputy education minister.

However, the government is to reapprove the appointment of Bennett as education minister Sunday, and the Knesset will be asked to vote to approve the appointment later in the week. When it does so, MK Porush will go back to his post as deputy education minister as well.

"In the past few days, I seriously weighed returning to the role of an MK," Wortzman said. "I decided to stay with the residents of ALEH Negev - Nahalat Eran [rehabilitation village], the weakest members of society."

"I am privileged to work with special children who need all my love and strength," Wortzman continued. "I see this as sacred work. After a few months as director of the village, at the side of Maj. Gen. Doron Almog, I realized my commitment to the children of the village, its employees, and their families. I've decided I cannot leave them at this time at the beginning of important tasks of tikkun olam."

"I will continue my public mission wherever I am," Wortzman added. "I think my friend, party chairman Naftali Bennett who turned to me, understood my decision and backs me all the way."


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