Likud MKs critical of Netanyahu’s handling of negotiations

Written by on November 22, 2022

Senior Likud Knesset members continued on Tuesday to express their disappointment over the reduced roles they will receive in the upcoming government and Knesset.

“There is a problem with the upcoming coalition agreement, and I hope it will change,” Likud’s MK David Bitan said on 103FM on Tuesday morning.

“There is a problem with the upcoming coalition agreement, and I hope it will change.”

 MK David Bitan

“There is not a lot left for the Likud. Israel is not just foreign and defense affairs, it is also daily life,” Bitan said, referring to Likud chairman MK Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to reserve the Defense and Foreign Ministries for Likud members but give up many other influential positions.

Bitan added that from his perspective Netanyahu was giving himself the power he needs as prime minister, defense and foreign affairs, but relegating the rest of the Likud to mediocre positions. Bitan also attacked the “unnecessary” briefs coming from Netanyahu’s office against MKs Yisrael Katz, David (Dudi) Amsalem and others.

Bitan also threatened Netanyahu, saying that he will not do anything to trip up the formation of the new government but that afterward he “had his ways” to get back at the party leader.

This is the second time this week in which Bitan threatened Netanyahu, after saying in an interview on Channel 12’s Meet the Press on Saturday evening, “Just as Netanyahu went against me, I can go against him.”

Bitan on Saturday also expressed his opposition to Netanyahu’s attempt to appoint former Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer as Foreign Minister, perhaps the most important ministry that will be left for the Likud.

Ynet on Tuesday quoted another senior Likud figure as saying, “Netanyahu paid with all of the senior portfolios, we are left with crumbs.”

coalition talks advance

Reports on Monday evening indicated advancement on the coalition talks, as Smotrich reportedly agreed to back down for his demand to receive the Defense Ministry if his party received the Finance Ministry and another ministerial position within the defense ministry responsible for issues pertaining to the West Bank. Smotrich’s party is also expected to be offered the Education Ministry.

In order for Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri to back down from his own demand of the finance ministry, Deri was reportedly offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister, as well as serve as both the Interior and Transportation Ministry.

His party was also offered the Religious Affairs Ministry, Health Ministry and Ministry for the Development of the Periphery, Negev and Galilee, according to Channel 12.

Otzma Yehudit will receive the Public Security Ministry and one other ministry, with Agriculture as the leading option.

With United Torah Judaism (UTJ) expected to receive the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Social Equality and Pensioners Ministry, the portfolios left for the Likud include Justice; Energy; Environmental Protection; Regional Cooperation; Aliyah and Integration; Culture and Sports; Intelligence; Communications; Economy; Tourism; Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services; Science and Technology; and Diaspora Affairs.

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