Rafi Peretz and Netanyahu
Rafi Peretz and Netanyahu Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Jewish Home chairman and outgoing Education Minister Rafi Peretz has agreed to support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to back the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, including any steps the Prime Minister my take in implementing the peace plan.

Peretz, who signed a deal with Netanyahu Thursday bringing the Jewish Home chief into the new unity government as Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage, is required by the deal to back any of the Prime Minister’s positions relating to the Mideast peace plan.

The deal not only maintains Peretz’s status as an observer (though not a voting member) in the security cabinet and as a member in the powerful Ministerial Committee for Legislation, it also will ensures that the Hemed (State Religious Education) system’s funding and that of the Education Ministry’s religious culture wing will be part of the state’s standard, mandatory spending package in future budgets.

In exchange, Peretz agreed that the Jewish Home faction will back Netanyahu not only in his plan to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, but also to back any other position taken by the prime minister in relation to the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan – an agreement which could potentially force the Jewish Home to support Palestinian statehood, which is a provision of the peace plan.

It was also agreed upon that “the status quo on religious and state issues will be maintained as has been the case in Israel for decades. The government will work to honor the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays that have maintained our existence as a people. The Jewish Home faction will technically work jointly with the Likud faction.”

On the appointment of rabbinical judges, Netanyahu promised that one-third of the appointments would be from the religious Zionist community.