Fights over settlements holding up coalition deal signings

Written by on June 9, 2021

Coalition agreements among the parties forming the new government have yet to be completed due to disputes over how to handle Judea and Samaria, sources in Yamina said on Wednesday night.

The disputes include who will oversee efforts to prevent Palestinian construction in Israeli-controlled Area C and how roads between settlements would be funded while Labor leader Merav Michaeli is transportation minister. Michaeli has not permitted such roads to bypass her authority, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset on Wednesday that the IDF under his control must retain sole authority over construction issues in the West Bank.

A signing ceremony for the agreements was supposed to take place on Tuesday. It is now possible that it will only take place just ahead of Friday’s deadline.

“The signing will take place when everything is finalized,” a source in the new coalition said. “If it is done on Thursday, the signing will be Thursday. If it will be Friday morning, the signing will wait for Friday morning. Everything will be presented transparently, in accordance with the law.”

The Knesset Arrangements Committee voted 17-0 on Wednesday morning to set the procedures for Sunday’s vote of confidence in a new government that will replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Incoming Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Netanyahu will speak at the special session on Sunday.

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin will be replaced by Yesh Atid MK Mickey Levy at the same session.

In the stormy meeting, Likud MK Galit Distal Atbaryan called Bennett and New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar opportunists and parasites.

Later, in the Knesset plenum, Likud minister Dudi Amsalem said the new government would consist of “Ashkenazi snobs” and would be “a government of hate.”

Yesh Atid decided to close Amsalem’s Digital and Cybersecurity Ministry.

The ministers of Yesh Atid will be Lapid as foreign minister and alternate prime minister, Orna Barbivai as economy minister, Meir Cohen as welfare minister, Yoel Razvozov as tourism minister, Karin Elharra as energy minister, Merav Cohen as social equity minister and Elazar Stern as intelligence services minister.

If the Jewish Agency’s 10-member selection committee chooses Stern to replace incoming President Isaac Herzog as Agency chairman, MK Yoav Segelovich is expected to be promoted to the post. Segelovich will be deputy public security minister and Idan Roll will be Lapid’s deputy in the Foreign Ministry.

Roll speaks perfect English and has worked with Diaspora Jewish communities for the Jewish Agency and Stand With Us. Roll, who married pop singer Harel Skaat in the US, will be the first openly gay deputy foreign minister.

“The prime minister should appoint a full-time foreign minister and rehabilitate the Foreign Ministry, which was split between six different ministries,” Roll said in a recent interview in which he criticized Netanyahu’s handling of the Foreign Ministry. “Jewish communities in the world justifiably expect the government of Israel to take antisemitism very seriously. “Never again” is not just a saying: we must translate it into action, every day and every hour.”

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