Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) demanded clarity from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday following reports that Netanyahu plans to offer the Defense Minister position to current Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) if he wins the next elections.
Ya'alon is considered one of Netanyahu's most loyal ministers, especially since the two cooperated together closely on Operation Protective Edge over the summer.
He was apparently so surprised by the reports that he personally called Netanyahu's office to discuss them.
Channel 2 News reported that Ya'alon questioned the Prime Minister about the rumors, bluntly asking, "Did you promise my job to another minister?"
Netanyahu responded with assurances that the reports were not true, and that he had made no such promise to Bennett.
Ya'alon then asked if he would retain his role as Minister of Defense in the next government. Netanyahu rejoined that he cannot commit at this point, as his own position as prime minister in the next government is also still not assured.
"How can I ensure you defense minister if I can not guarantee myself the premiership?" he stated.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Ya'alon was left relatively calm after the conversation, despite not receiving an explicit promise for his position next term.
Yet, while Ya'alon is calm for the moment, it should be noted that relations between Netanyahu and Bennett have recently warmed up considerably, following earlier assessments when the two were once considered bitter rivals particularly after Bennett's work in Netanyahu's office.
At the Saban Forum in Washington a few days ago, Bennett stated that he and Netanyahu had made a pact not to attack each other during the campaign for upcoming elections, in order not to damage the right-wing bloc.
“We have an arrangement where we don’t attack each other during these elections. Last time I was strongly attacked by Likud, and ultimately we want to form a strong nationalist bloc which, obviously in my opinion is good for Israel," said Bennett.