Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Local council members and deputy mayors representing Jewish Home have written a letter to party head Naftali Bennett, demanding that he continue pushing for the religious affairs ministry as part of a coalition deal.

"We ask you to continue raising the importance of keep control of the ministry of religious affairs and its actions in the hands of Jewish Home," the letter states. "The ministry has a direct influence on what occurs in different communities regarding official rabbis and the local religious councils."

The authors emphasized that a lack of influence in this field "would be a great obstacle to us in the years to come."

They further added, "In the coming months about a thousand community rabbis, 35 religious councils, and tens of chief rabbis for cities and moshavs will be appointed. This is in addition to staffing the local religious councils.

"We call on you not to give up on the ministry of religious affairs but rather to continue fight in order to protect our influence actions in the coming years."

Coalition negotiations have been going down to the wire, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party haggling with its smaller would-be partners over ministerial positions.

The Jewish Home had initially demanded either the Defense or Foreign Ministry portfolios - two of the most highly-coveted - but Netanyahu reneged on a pre-election promise to grant one of those positions to Bennett, leading to an impasse.

That impasse was apparently broken after Bennett eventually backed down and agreed to accept the Education Ministry - a position many of his religious-Zionist voter base were keen to secure.

Jewish Home will reportedly also receive the Agriculture Ministry and the Culture and Sports Ministry.

As part of the deal, the Agriculture Ministry will also be assigned the government's Settlement Agency, which covers housing plans and permits in Judea and Samaria.

The religious-Zionist party is also predicted to receive a deputy minister and the leadership of the Knesset's Constitutional Committee.