Israeli Right in Disarray over Ham-handed Attempts to Assign Cabinet Posts
The right-wing Likud of caretaker Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is experiencing an internal rebellion in light of anger over cabinet assignments following a lopsided coalition deal with the centrist Blue and White party. Several senior Likud figures have openly expressed disgust after being passed over for posts, explaining why Netanyahu on Thursday evening canceled the presentation of the unity government for a vote of confidence at the last minute, to great embarrassment. What’s more, the country’s other right-wing party, Yamina, has seen a split, with a senior member breaking away to accept a cabinet portfolio after Yamina leaders announced they were headed to the opposition, citing the government’s composition and guidelines. Of the top three cabinet assignments, Netanyahu kept only one – Finance – for the Likud, awarding the post to loyalist Israel Katz. The other two, Defense and Foreign Affairs, will be filled by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and his top deputy, Gaby Ashkenazi, respectively. Under the coalition agreement, Gantz is to become prime minister in another 18 months, and Ashkenazi defense minister. Netanyahu, who is about to stand trial in three separate cases of alleged corruption, will remain in the cabinet with the title “prime minister-designate,” awarded through last-minute legislation to help him avoid a law under which no one under indictment other than a sitting prime minister can serve in a key public position.