Report: Jewish Home planned on leaving gov't before Liberman

Jewish Home faction allegedly planned on mass resignation from gov't only to be preempted by Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu.

Tzvi Lev ,

Jewish Home
Jewish Home
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Jewish Home faction had allegedly planned on resigning from the coalition, only to be preempted by outgoing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Liberman announced on Wednesday that he will resign his position and pull his Yisrael Beytenu faction out of the government. In a dramatic press conference, Liberman said that the recent ceasefire Israel signed with Hamas was "a capitulation to terrorism" and called for early elections "as soon as possible".

According to Kan, the Jewish Home faction intended to resign as well on Wednesday to show their displeasure with the cease-fire, which came after hundreds of missiles rained down on southern Israel.

The Jewish Home had already decided to pull out of the government on Tuesday evening, only to be blindsided by Liberman's announcement. Following the developments, the Jewish Home decided to stay in the government in order to demand that faction head Naftali Bennett succeed Liberman as defense minister.

Bennett currently serves as Education Minister and Minister for Diaspora Affairs.

Jewish Home officials said Wednesday that despite warnings that Liberman’s resignation would likely spell the end of the current government and the 20th Knesset, a narrow coalition could be kept in place into 2019.

The Netanyahu government currently holds a 66-seat majority in the 120 member Knesset. With Yisrael Beytenu’s departure, that majority will be reduced to just 61 seats.

If the Jewish Home does not receive the Defense Ministry portfolio, however, lawmakers say the party could join Yisrael Beytenu in pushing for new elections.

“Now is the time to demand the Defense Ministry portfolio be given to Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home,” tweeted MK Shuli Muallem.

“Without the Defense portfolio, the Jewish Home won’t remain a partner in the government.”