Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel handed in his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, informing him he is leaving his post effective this coming Friday.
The resignation follows Ariel’s loss of the leadership spot in National Union party primary elections prior to last April’s national elections. He was succeeded by the current Minister of Transportation, Betzalel Smotrich.
Ariel has not served as a Knesset member since last April, nor did he run as a candidate for the current, 22nd Knesset. The announcement of his resignation allegedly came in response to a request from the prime minister, according to Hebrew-language Israeli media reports.
Members of Netanyahu’s Likud party have reportedly exerted heavy pressure on the prime minister to appoint two Knesset members from his own party to ministerial positions in the transitional government.
Those to be selected are likely to be former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, and Likud MKs Miki Zohar, an attorney and politician, or Yoav Kisch, an Israeli pilot and politician.