Settlement Affairs Minister Still Have to be Appointed

On Tuesday, sources in the coalition revealed that another ministerial appointment will not be prevented by the uproar that seems to have occurred because of the appointment of another deputy minister. On Monday, Meir Yitzhak Halevy, the New Hope MK, had been sworn in as the new deputy education minister, which makes him the sixth deputy minister. This is the third-largest government in Israel and there are 28 ministers that are part of it. Yair Lapid, the alternate Prime Minister, had to face a great deal of criticism and he issued an apology on Monday regarding the size of the government. 

He also promised that there would only be 18 ministers in the next government. However, in accordance with the coalition agreement, just like New Hope, Yamina also has the right to appoint a fourth minister. This minister will be one for settlement affairs, a position that had once been held by Likud’s Tzipi Hotovely and Tzachi Hanegbi. The final portfolio of Yamina for the leader of Bayit Yehudi i.e. the Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Hagit Moshe, was earmarked via an agreement between the Bayit Yehudi party and Naftali Bennett, the Yamina leader and Prime Minister of Israel. It is important to note that Bayit Yehudi does not wish to be a part of the current government. 

Instead, Bayit Yehudi and Yamina are working on an agreement for giving control of religious councils to Moshe’s party, along with funding for municipal candidates. They would share the portfolio in return and a meeting was conducted this week regarding the portfolio in question. According to a Yamina source, there had been a move to get the deputy minister of New Hope and their minister appointed together. However, it hadn’t been accomplished in time and they were still having discussions over it. MK Nir Orbach is Bennett’s choice for handing over the portfolio.

As per the Norwegian law, he would have to quit the Knesset and this would enable Stella Weinstein, the Yamina director-general, to enter the Knesset. This would make Orbach the 22nd minister or deputy minister to quit via the law in the current government. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Israel was full of praises for the residents of Samaria and Judea after Omer Bar Lev, the Public Security Minister who belongs to the Labor party, criticized the violent settlers. Bennett is eager to appoint a settlement minister as quickly as possible for making a gesture to the sector that he considers a part of his political base.

Meanwhile, Yuval Chen, the head of the Knesset Guard, gave orders that a bodyguard be assigned to Mansour Abbas, the Ra’am (United Arab Emirates) head. There have been some violent threats made against Abbas recently during the right-wing protests. Israel and the UAE are strengthening their ties after they signed an agreement that was brokered by former US President Donald Trump. The Abraham Accords is a peace treaty that was signed between UAE, Israel, Sudan, Bahrain and Morocco, when Benjamin Netanyahu had been prime minister of Israel. 

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