Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset Thursday to present his new government, and faced a raucous, disrespectful plenum.
Three Arab MKs were ejected from the plenum, one after the other, as Netanyahu began speaking, due to loud and incessant interruptions.
Netanyahu called for a change in the electoral system in Israel. "This is the 34th government of Israel,” he noted, “and the 67th anniversary of the independence of the country. This means that every two years, on average, Israel changes its government. It takes you six months to hold elections and assemble a government.”
Netanyahu added that he is “leaving an open door for widening the government” for two reasons. One, he said, is “because Israel needs it.” The second reason, he explained, is that it will make it possible to change the system to one that strengthens the larger parties and makes it possible to create stable governments. He called on Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog to join his government and create the change in the electoral system.
Herzog replied to Netanyahu in his speech, which followed, and rejected Netanyahu's offer out of hand. He called the government "Netanyahu's circus" and vowed not to join it.
According to Channel 2, MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) was stunned to hear Netanyahu thank him for agreeing to be Coalition Chairman and Head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee – and not a minister. He issued a statement in which he emphasized that this was never agreed between him and Netanyahu.
Netanyahu announced that Silvan Shalom will be Interior Minister. Gilad Erdan was reportedly offered the portfolio of Public Security Minister but refused, and for the time being will not be in the government.
Benny Begin reportedly also learned from Netanyahu's speech that he would be a minister without portfolio.
MK Ayoub Kara will be a deputy minister with ministerial authority, in charge of regional cooperation and development of the Druze and Circassian communities.
MK Gila Gamliel will be Minister for Gender Equality, Equality of Minorities and Advancement of Youth and Senior Citizens. She will be a member of the Economic and Social Cabinet and of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.