A source close to Naftali Bennett confirms the offer and says the New Right leader rejected it.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered former cabinet minister Naftali Bennett the post of Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations as part of a political deal. The offer was first disclosed in a report on the Knesset Channel.
“Don’t run in the election and you’ll be appointed an ambassador to the U.N.,” was the prime minister’s message to Bennett, according to the parliamentary television channel.
Bennett’s party, the New Right, re-affirmed that the party intends to run in the September 17th election “with all its might in order to be a large and strong force in the next government,” adding that “any other proposal is irrelevant.”
A party source confirmed to World Israel News that the offer had been made by the prime minister and added that Bennett “rejected it when proposed to him in private.”
The source charged that Netanyahu’s Likud party leaked the story to the media as “a ploy to discredit” the New Right leader.
“The idea is to get him out of the way and make it easier for a unity deal on the right,” the source added.
Bennett and Ayelet Shaked broke away from the Jewish Home party before the April Knesset election, forming New Right, but the party failed to gain enough votes to win any parliamentary seats.
When Netanyahu failed to form a governing parliamentary majority after the April ballot, a new election was called for September.
Efforts are underway on both the right and left of the Israeli political spectrum to form blocs comprised of the smaller parties in a bid to strengthen their showing in the September vote. On the left, such a bloc would join Blue and White in trying to form a new government, while a right-wing bloc would join the Likud, keeping Netanyahu as prime minister.
On the right, the effort has included a drive to integrate New Right into the Union of Right-Wing Parties. Shaked seems to be considered a more popular political asset than Bennett and has been more widely sought in the campaign to unite forces. Bennett is viewed by Netanyahu as a nemesis.
The deadline for submitting party lists for the upcoming election is August 1 at 10 pm.