MK Ofir Sofer (Yamina) told Reshet Bet radio Friday morning that his party would not join the Netanyahu government if they don’t receive proper offers. He insisted that Netanyahu had to balance out the enormous power he had awarded Blue&White with so many key portfolios, including all the economic portfolios, defense, and justice.
Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett met on Thursday with the prime minister and insisted on getting the health and transport portfolios – realizing his current defense portfolio was going to Blue&White Chairman Benny Gantz as part of his deal with Likud. The meeting did not end with an agreement – Bibi typically awards his portfolios at the very last minute – but the PM made sure to leak to the press through people in his circle that Bennett “can forget about his demands,” seeing as all he is bringing to the table are a measly 6 Knesset seats.
MK Sofer said: “I think it would be humiliating if we were to join in the current situation with such an inappropriate offer.”
Transport Minister Bezalel Smotrich from Yamina sounded a similar note Thursday night, telling Kan 11 News that if the party can’t influence the coalition’s decision-making, it would be better off sitting in the opposition. Smotrich also sounded the alarm about Netanyahu’s left-bound drift, partnering with Blue&White which has no intention of applying Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, or making good on settlement construction plans – both of which would be strongly influenced by Defense Minister Gantz, should he land the position Bennett is currently handling quite expertly.
But MK Sofer was not giving up hope, since, as he put it, “There are no prophecies in Israeli politics, especially not after this past year. I believe that if Netanyahu wants us in his government, he should let us in, and his offers should be made accordingly.”
He then said, “We don’t want to be a fly on the wall,” an adage with an identical meaning in Hebrew as in English, and neither actually matches what he intended to say, namely that Yamina doesn’t wish to be an extremely minor participant in the next government. But being a fly on the wall has to do with eavesdropping on what’s going on in the room.
Ofir Sofer is a moshavnik from Alma in the Upper Galilee. He started his IDF service at the Israeli Air Force Flight Academy, but was transferred to the Paratroopers Brigade, then spent a decade in uniform. He is part of the Tkuma faction in Yamina, headed by Smotrich.
Like Smotrich, and, indeed, the entire Religious-Zionist camp, Sofer has a full belly of Netanyahu’s maneuvers: “Netanyahu cut off contact with us as soon as the negotiations took a serious direction. He signed and sold whatever he sold, and today he’s saying how can I possibly distribute the remaining portfolios to Yamina and the Likud. I don’t see us coming in at this point.”