Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) admitted in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth that the decision to issue an ultimatum to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding the defense portfolio for Bennett or else – was a mistake.
“Of course we made mistakes, but this is how we learn. Some political rounds you lose,” she said, paraphrasing the late great Mayor Ed Koch’s adage, “Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.”
In the interview, to be published in full on Friday, the Justice Minister referred to a report that NSC chief Meir Ben Shabat was sent to leading national-religious Rabbi Haim Drukman to try to prevent Bennett’s resignation:
“That story did not have any impact on our decision, because our decision had been made earlier,” she argued. “The NSC head spoke with Drukman after we had made a decision to stay and after our speeches had already been written.”
Shaked denied that she and Bennett had already decided to resign from the government and retreated at the last minute: “We did not make a decision like this, we considered resigning, but in the end we decided to disregard our honor and stay on.”
Shaked also said that “the prime minister’s decision to hold on to the defense portfolio was a mistake. The State of Israel needs a full-time defense minister, Bennett was right for that. Being prime minister of Israel is the most difficult job in the world. A prime minister who holds many portfolios and does the work of several ministers,
in the end, those who manage the ministries are the civil servants. It did not have to be that way. Naftali Bennett is best suited for the job.”
Regarding the ultimatum issued by Habayit Hayehudi Party, Shaked said: “From our history with Netanyahu, we see that, unfortunately, only through such measures can we achieve our goals. Perhaps we should not have given him a public ultimatum. Could be.”