Deputy Mayors Demand Bennett Provide Senior Portfolios

April 20, 2015  

With tension boiling in coalition negotiations between Likud and Jewish Home, board members of Jewish Home’s Forum of Deputy Mayors as well as members of city, local and regional councils are joining the fray. 

Writing to Jewish Home chair Naftali Bennett on Monday, the board members expressed staunch support for his threat to shut down talks entirely, should Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decide to appoint Shas head Aryeh Deri as Religious Affairs Minister.

“We wish to strengthen you during your declaration that without the religious affairs portfolio for the Religious Zionists, [Likud’s] negotiations with Jewish Home will end,” the members wrote to Bennett of his ultimatum. 

But the forum also had other requirements, which, while likely supported by Bennett and Jewish Home as a whole, put together are highly unrealistic to be accepted by Likud as conditions for the party joining its coalition. 

“We wish to bring to your attention party members’ demand [for Jewish Home] to receive the foreign, education, and religious affairs portfolios,” member stressed in the letter. 

“Our position is unequivocal about these portfolios. We want to clarify even further: if you do not obtain these portfolios, we would essentially be an excess surplus in the government. [In that case] it would be better for us to sit in the opposition.”

Among those who signed were the deputy mayors of Ramat Gan, Petah Tikva, Modi’in, Lod, Givatayim, and Kfar Saba as well as city councilmen from Bat Yam, Kiryat Ono, and Rehovot. 

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