Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks during a Yamina party meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem on July 5, 2021.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) created a political firestorm Wednesday after taped conversations of her attacking Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue & White) were made public by Israel’s Channel 12 News.

“Gantz will break up the [government]” she said at one point in the tape. Lapid, she said is “shallow” and worse, “every week Lapid causes an international incident that Bennett has to fix.”

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Moreover, she claimed the prime ministerial rotation between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Lapid – who is due to succeed Bennett in the post next August – is “far from guaranteed,” adding “We’ll see if there will be a crisis.”

As it is, Bennett seems to be running a one-man crisis intervention agency, or perhaps a very rowdy kindergarten, far too often.

The prime minister was forced to convene an emergency meeting on Wednesday night with his Yamina MKs after vicious infighting broke out between MKs Shirly Pinto and Abir Kara.

The brouhaha began during a Knesset hearing earlier in the day, when Kara – a big proponent of small business — likened a fine on businesses with no disability access to “communism.” Pinto, who is hearing impaired, responded in a tweet directed at Kara.

“How can you look at me and 1.8 million people with disabilities and claim that the accessibility obligation is communism?? Injury to 1.8 million people with disabilities is bullying,” she wrote.

“The needs of private (legitimate) businesses do not contradict the need for accessibility for people with disabilities. Your statement is immersed in cheap populism!” she wrote.

Kara angrily left Yamina’s internal WhatsApp group in the midst of discussions on the issue, calling his fellow politicians “a party of idiots.” He rejoined the group, however, after he was soothed by his colleagues, and was invited to a meeting with Bennett as well to resolve the issue, Channel 12 reported.

Bennett said following their meeting, “It’s healthy that we have a party of people with principles that burn within them, and they fight for them,” according to Hebrew-language media. “Glad that everyone internalized the need to be patient and cooperate towards the common goal,” he added.

The “common goal” is a reference to the passage of a 2021 budget by November 14. If the multi-lateral coalition fails to get that done by the deadline, the coalition will automatically dissolve and Israeli voters will be sent back to the polls for a fifth round of elections.

But it’s not just Yamina that is fighting.

The far leftwing Labor and Meretz government ministers are still angry over not having been informed in advance by Gantz (Blue and White) earlier this week about his intention to outlaw six NGOs operating in the Palestinian Authority for having ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

On Wednesday, they were outraged about his decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria for Israelis.

“Whoever declares policy declarations with international implications irresponsibly, without coordination and without preparation, and whoever approves the construction of 3,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria, as the saying goes, is no Rabin,” Labor leaders were quoted as saying by Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan 11 News.

A spokesperson for Blue and White responded that they would not be preached to by a party that calls on Israelis to refuse to do their military service.

TPS contributed to this report.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.