Yemina party blasts Netanyahu: He’s shattered the right-wing bloc

The Yemina Party slammed the Likud decision to shut their party out of the unity government.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Members of the right-wing Yemina Party accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday of purposefully passing them over for senior jobs in his new unity government, saying he has shattered Israel’s traditional right-wing bloc.

“Netanyahu is throwing religious Zionism under the bus,” an unnamed senior party member told Israel Hayom. “He is leading the way to the end of the right-wing and the end of the historic covenant with religious Zionism.”

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the United Torah Judaism party met with Tourism Minister Yariv Levin of the Likud party to try and broker a solution to prevent Yemina from joining the opposition, Kan Radio reports. “Under no circumstances should the right-wing bloc be dismantled,” Litzman told Levin.

Yesha council chairman David Elhayani said Yemina’s presence in the coalition was necessary “because we are at one of the most important times of the settlement [movement].” Yemina is opposed to the Trump peace deal which he also considers a threat, Elhayani notes.

“The outline that Americans are trying to sell to us – its meaning is the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Elhayani said.

The national unity government deal will see Netanyahu share power with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. Cabinet positions will be split evenly between the two sides, with some ministries going to their satellite parties, such as United Torah Judaism on the Right and Labor on the Left.

Yemina was expected to lose the powerful Defense Ministry position currently held by party leader Naftali Bennett, and party members complained that Likud members were cashing in political favors to take all the important cabinet positions.

Yemina has emphasized that it will only join the government if it can have a meaningful influence on policy.

“Netanyahu has a problem within his party. He is short of jobs to give out there and he wants to do it at our expense,” one senior Yemina member said. “When he needs us for his personal interests he embraces us. Now he is breaking up the (right-wing) bloc. “It’s a stinging slap in the face to religious Zionism.”

“We have rolled into a situation that we are facing a leftist government,” Yemina MK Ophir Sofer said. “We understand that reality is complex, but really there was no negotiation.”

Israel Hayom diplomatic analyst Ariel Kahana noted that the Yemina argument that Netanyahu is creating a left-wing government simply doesn’t hold up.

Netanyahu’s government intends to apply sovereignty over settlements, and so it must be at least partly right-wing, Kahana tweeted, adding that if the annexation doesn’t happen, then “Bennett and his associates would be justified in… calling out the ‘leftist government,'” he said. Kahana said that Yemina’s place should be inside the coalition.

The swearing-in of the unity government has been postponed to Thursday, due to the upcoming visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who is scheduled to arrive Wednesday for a 24-hour visit.