Netanyahu names new education and transportation ministers

“The deep and firm partnership between the Likud and the Union of Right-Wing Parties will continue during the election campaign and afterward,” Netanyahu announced.

By World Israel News Staff 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed new ministers of education and transportation, part of a reshuffling ahead of elections on September 17.

On Tuesday, the prime minister named Rafi Peretz as education minister and Bezalel Smotrich as transportation minister. The latter position had been held by Yisrael Katz, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, who is also foreign minister.

Peretz and Smotrich are leading members of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URWP), which intended to join a Netanyahu government after the April election.

“The deep and firm partnership between the Likud, under my leadership, with religious Zionism and the Union of Right-Wing Parties will continue during the election campaign and afterward,” tweeted Netanyahu in announcing the appointments of Peretz and Smotrich as ministers, indicating he hoped the move would lay the groundwork for a new government after September 17.

Israel was forced into a second national election in just a matter of months after the prime minister failed to pull together enough MKs to form a governing coalition despite the right-wing bloc winning a majority in the election.

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The URWP had its eyes on another ministry as well, Justice.

However, Netanyahu signaled he wanted a member of Likud in the Justice Ministry and recently named Likud MK Amir Ohana to the position.

Smotrich may also have hurt his chances for the influential post when he spoke of adopting Torah guidelines as the law of the land, sparking a strong reaction from those opposed to religious interference in state matters.

At the beginning of June, Netanyahu fired Naftali Bennett as education minister and Ayelet Shaked as justice minister. Likud sources cited the fact that they had failed to win enough seats to enter the Knesset in April.