Amit Segal, considered one of the most influential right-wing journalists in Israel, suggested on Telegram that Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett recently agreed that should their rotation agreement materializes, and Lapid becomes prime minister, the Iranian portfolio would be entrusted to the designated interior minister Bennett.
Segal, who cites no source, Segal explained that “from time immemorial,” the Iranian issue has been entrusted to the Prime Minister, but Lapid has agreed with Bennett that he, Bennett, would continue to be in charge of this portfolio.
According to Segal, the move has an obvious political connection, naturally: since the current government was formed, many in the media have been wondering if it made sense that after two years at the helm, Bennett would be content with the post of interior minister, in charge of municipal taxes, airport arrivals, and the population bureau. Giving him the additional, challenging Iran portfolio would keep him interested.
Segal also commented that most of the coalition members don’t believe there would be a rotation, and not necessarily because Bennett is on his way to quiet anonymity once his term is done. Several Yamina members appear ready to jump ship, and any internal conflict with fellow coalition partners could provide them with the excuse: the quarrel over chametz in hospitals, the dispute over how many Ukrainians it takes to eliminate the Jewish character of the state, Benny Gantz’s sudden jihad against the settlements, Omer Barlev’s ongoing love affair with terrorists, Mansour Abbas’s Islamist agenda – the list is practically interminable.
In the end, it will come down to numbers and to Benjamin Netanyahu––are Yamina and New Hope members still allergic to him and is he willing to forgive and forget, at least those of them wishing to jump ship (a minimum of three is required from each faction)?
At the moment, the right-wing opposition includes:
Likud – 30
Shas – 9
UTJ – 7
Religious Zionism – 6
It comes to only 52 seats, which means that eleven members of Yamina and New Hope are needed. It’s a very high bar since so many of them hold ministerial posts and so many, like Bennett and Sa’ar, are looking at a vacuous political future.