Netanyahu Gets 14 More Days to Form Government

Coalition-assembling continues as Bennett fires off angry tweet regarding Religions Ministry.

Gil Ronen ,

Netanyahu and Rivlin
Netanyahu and Rivlin
Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited President Reuven Rivlin Monday morning and received a 14-day extension in which to cobble together a new ruling coalition.

"I am giving you another 14 days to put together a government," Rivlin told Netanyahu in remarks broadcast live on Israel's main radio stations after the premier formally requested an extension.

According to Israel Hayom, the next government will probably be enlarged to 22 ministers, in order to accommodate the demads of the various parties. This will involve amending the current law, which specifies a maximum of 18 ministers.

Likud will have 11-12 of these portfolios, apparently including the Justice, Public Security, Transportation, Welfare and Education ministries.

Coalition agreements are expected to be signed with the haredi parties and with Kulanu within the next few days.

Likud hoped to give the Religions Ministry to Shas, with a deputy minister for the Jewish Home. However, Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett issued a threatening tweet last night, in which he declared: “Unilaterally taking the Ministry of Religious Affairs away from the national religious community and handing it over to Shas means the end of negotiations with Bayit Yehudi [Jewish Home – ed.].”

The Jewish Home will also receive the Agriculture Ministry, to be headed by Uri Ariel, and the Ministry for Senior Citizens, which will be headed by Ayelet Shaked.

Bennett is expected to continue to hold the Economics Ministry, his aspirations to the Foreign Ministry notwithstanding. He will also, however, receive the Intelligence portfolio, currently held by Yuval Steinitz of Likud, as well as continue to serve in the Security-Diplomacy Cabinet.

Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu will receive the Finance Ministry, which Kahlon will head. In addition, it will receive the Construction and Housing Ministry, which will be headed by MK Yoav Galant, and the Environmental Protection Ministry, which will be headed by MK Eli Elaluf.

Shas will hold the Interior Ministry, but the issue of the Religions Ministry is cuurently unresolved.




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