Dafna Liel is reporting a significant breakthrough in the coalition negotiations between Likud, Religious Zionism and Shas.
According to the report, Bezalel Smotrich of Religious Zionism will receive the Finance Ministry, which was Smotrich’s first choice portfolio. His party may also receive a ministerial position within the Ministry of Defense, possibly with responsibility over Judea and Samaria. The Religious Zionism party said they have not yet received an official offer, according to Amit Segal.
Right after elections, Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) had rushed to offer the Finance Ministry to Shas’s Aryeh Deri to head off Smotrich. But Smotrich stuck to guns and declared he would only accept the Defense or Finance ministries, which locked Netanyahu into a corner of his own making.
In exchange for giving up Netanyahu’s impetuous offer, Shas will be offered a number of ministries. Deri will be given the position of Acting Prime Minister and the Ministry of the Interior. Shas will also receive the Ministry of Religious Service, which they really want, and the Ministry of the Negev and Galil.
Amit Segal reports that Deri will also be the Transportation Minister. His party will also get the Health Ministry, and one additional ministry.
It appears that Itamar Ben Gvir of Otzma Yehudit will be the Minister of Interior Security, with expanded powers in setting the agenda and priorities for the police, which until now was set by the chief of police.
Instead of Otzma Yehudit receiving the Ministry of the Negev and Galil, they may receive the Ministry of Agriculture. Likud has originally promised the Negev and Galil to Otzma, but took away the offer yesterday, causing a blow up.
If this Netanyahu-Deri-Smotrich conflict is resolved, Netanyahu has an even bigger task ahead, doling out ministerial positions within the Likud. And of course, UTJ isn’t happy that shas was offered so much more than they were.