Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettHillel Meir/ TPS

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) on Thursday morning told Army Radio that he intends to ask for the defense portfolio after the next elections.

The interviewer, Ilana Dayan, asked Bennett how he could be sure that he would be in the next coalition, and that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would agree to give him the portfolio.

In response, Bennett said, "I don't intend to push Netanyahu out the door. But if he's going to be Prime Minister, I definitely intend to ask for the defense portfolio next time. I think it's crucial."

Bennett also noted that if Netanyahu does not run for another term, he himself intends to run for Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel told Channel 10 that he hopes the coalition crisis regarding the haredi "Draft Law" and the state budget will be solved without necessitating elections.

"Everyone is making huge efforts, because we understand that there is no reason to hold elections," Ariel said. "We're trying to create a solution which will give the haredim part of what they want."

Ariel also estimated that the Draft Law will not pass three readings before the budget is presented for approval, since there is only one week left to the current Knesset session.

"I hope responsibility will take precedence over desires, and we will reach understandings," he said. "I believe that there is a good chance of reaching understandings and ending the crisis."

"The question is if whether the idea of Torah study as a value in the Jewish State will pass as a Basic Law, or as some kind of protected law, and whether it will be passed before the budget is brought to a vote, or pushed off to the next Knesset session."

The proposed "Draft Law" would declare that the study of the Torah is a supreme value in Israel. By enshrining Torah study as a "basic value" of the State of Israel, the new law would allow the government to circumvent the court's previous ruling that exemptions for yeshiva study are discriminatoy and enable it to grant draft exemptions or deferments to those enrolled full-time in a yeshiva institution.

However, the haredi parties pushing to pass the law did not receive prior approval for the law from the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.