Last minute drama as aggrieved MKs may thwart ‘change gov’t’ vote

With an incredibly slim 61 – 59 majority, a single vote could topple the so-called “change government.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

In a last minute drama before the anticipated swearing in of the so-called change government this Sunday afternoon, an MK from the Yisrael Beitenu party has announced that he’ll be leaving the faction after voting in favor of the new government.

Eli Avidar, a prominent businessman and former advisor to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, was miffed that he was not offered the position of Agriculture Minister or Negev and Galilee Development Minister.

Yisrael Beitenu chair Avigdor Liberman, who is set to become Finance Minister, reportedly offered Avidar the opportunity to serve under him – and Avidar turned down the offer.

While Avidar promised not to thwart the incoming coalition and will vote in favor of it, he said he will not be beholden to party loyalty after the government is inaugurated.

With an incredibly slim 61 – 59 majority, a single vote against change bloc legislation by Avidar could create huge issues for the new government.

MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) will serve as Agriculture Minister, as well as Negev and Galilee Development Minister – the positions that Avidar had sought.

But Avidar isn’t the only MK making a last minute announcement ahead of the crucial confirmation vote.

Islamic Ra’am party MK Said al-Harumi has threatened to vote against the new government, in light of upcoming demolitions of illegally built Bedouin homes in the Negev.

Although Ra’am signed a coalition agreement which stipulated that the state will retroactively legalize a number of Bedouin communities in the Negev and freeze enforcement of the Kaminitz Law which penalizes illegal building, there was no cancellation of previously scheduled demolitions.

Channel 12 reported that Ra’am chair Mansour Abbas had spoken with Yemina head and prime minister-designate Naftali Bennett to tell him that the situation was “under control.”

The Ra’am party is slated to meet on Sunday afternoon to discuss al-Harumi’s threat.

According to a Channel 12 report, al-Harumi said on Sunday afternoon “there will be a government today.”