Minister of housing appears set to jump ship to Likud

Yoav Galant, minister of construction and housing, sees himself as defense minister in the next government, according to reports.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant may soon jump from his current party, Kulanu, to the Likud, according to a report Monday on Hadashot News.

Last Thursday evening, Galant attended a Likud central committee event in Petach Tikva arranged specifically for him, Hadashot reported.

Video of the event shows Galant greeted warmly by some 120 party members, with one calling him “flesh of our flesh, an organic part of the Likud.” Galant, who has been meeting central committee members for months, says Hadashot, is seen clasping hands and hugging many.

“Only he [Galant] could bring so many people here,” says one.

Galant, the number two man in Kulanu, publicly denies that he is looking for a new political home. Just last week at a conference in Eilat, he  was asked, “They say you’ve already started the primaries [race] in Likud?”

“This is a statement that, I would say, lacks a factual basis,” he replied, adding that if it is up to him, he would not leave Kulanu.

As a major-general (ret.) and past candidate for IDF chief of staff, Galant is reportedly interested in taking on the defense ministry. However, he supported Prime Minister Netanyahu’s move to take the defense portfolio following Avigdor Liberman’s resignation some three weeks ago.

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“I’ll tell you this,” he said at the Petach Tikva event to a round of applause. “I prefer Bibi [Netanyahu] as a part-time minister of defense over others who served before him full-time.”

Galant’s support for Netanyahu lends credence to rumors the housing minister is ready to jump ship. As early as June, 2017, rumors swirled that the 60-year-old neophyte politician would leave Kulanu for Likud, even though he had only entered politics as a member of the former  two years prior.

If Galant does switch parties, he will have to resign from the Knesset first, according to the law. He would likely make this move when the government dissolves and new elections are called.

Due to the bare bones, one-member Knesset majority now holding the coalition together, and possible legal woes awaiting the prime minister, the consensus appears to be that elections will happen in a matter of months.