Deri, Bennett Feuding Over Religion Ministry

With UTJ and Kulanu on board, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu turns his attention to finishing off deals with Shas and Jewish Home.

Yaakov Levi ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

After signing coalition agreements with United Torah Judaism and Kulanu, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is turning his attention to finishing off deals with Shas and Jewish Home.

Although negotiations with both parties have advanced significantly in recent days, Likud sources say, both parties are still fighting for control of the Religious Affairs Ministry.

Netanyahu had already offered Shas the portfolio, according to the sources, but Jewish Home bitterly opposes that arrangement, and are demanding control of the ministry in order to prevent what they believe will be attempts by Shas to use it as a source of patronage jobs.

Jewish Home sources said that Netanyahu has offered chairman Naftali Bennett the Education and Diaspora Affairs ministries. Uri Ariel, under the deal, would be named Agriculture Minister, with extended responsibility for construction in Judea and Samaria, and Ayelet Shaked would be named Culture and Sport Minister.

Bennett is also demanding chairmanship of the Knesset Constitution and Law Committee, as well as passage of two key laws to limit the power of the High Court. 

These include a change in the makeup of the committee to choose judges – a change incoming Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon opposes – and a law that will allow the Knesset to reinstitute legislation the High Court has struck down. 

Bennett has also demanded that Netanyahu officially lift any building freezes still extant in Judea and Samaria, and that the government promise to dedicate a billion shekels to the Education Ministry in order to allow him to conduct proper reforms.



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