Netanyahu fires Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked

The prime minister dismissed the two members of the failed New Right party.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Minister of Education Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday.

According to the Ynet news site, sources said that “Bennett and Shaked cannot continue in a sensitive role in the cabinet for another six months after they have not been elected by the public.”

The New Right reacted to the news. According to The Jerusalem Post, Jeremy Saltan, a spokesman for the party, said the firings “will go down in history as one of [Netanyahu’s] biggest mistakes ever.”

Bennett and Shaked narrowly missed making it into the 21st Knesset when their party, the New Right, fell short by 1,400 votes, giving them the dubious distinction of missing the electoral threshold by the the narrowest margin in Israeli history.

There have been rumors that Shaked will join the Likud, and a number of senior Likud members have voiced support for the idea, seeing Shaked as a vote-getter who is popular with the right-wing public.

However, Ynet reports on Sunday that Netanyahu denies she will be given a reserved spot on the party list. Sources say that Netanyahu “hasn’t forgotten that Shaked said a half year ago that this will be the last term of Netanyahu as prime minister.”

The New Right Party says that it intends to run in the upcoming elections for the 22nd Knesset with or without Shaked. Bennett on Sunday said he is in talks with Moshe Feiglin of the Zehut party to run on a joint list. Together, the two parties failed to get into the Knesset, costing the right-wing bloc close to a quarter million votes.

National Union party head Bezalel Smotrich urged them not to run on Sunday, saying they wasted votes the first time around.

“There must be one party to the right of the Likud. Right now there is one: the United Right. Anyone who has taken a heavy price from us must sit at home and do self-reckoning and not run again and endanger the seats,” he said.