Far-right Alliance Intends Not to Join Netanyahu-Gantz Unity Government

The right-wing Yamina slate, which includes three acting ministers, says 'Netanyahu is showing us the way out,' and that they prefer to act from the opposition

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Leaders of the right-wing Yamina alliance on Election Day, March 2, 2020: Bezalel Smotrich, left, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Rafi Peretz.
Leaders of the right-wing Yamina alliance on Election Day, March 2, 2020: Bezalel Smotrich, left, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Rafi Peretz.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Yamina, the far-right alliance headed by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, intends not to join the unity government formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan.

In light of the coalition agreement signed Monday between Netanyahu and Gantz, according to which any move the government wants to advance on will require the approval of Kahol Lavan, the leaders of Yamina feel that if they enter the government they will not be able to advance their own policies and that they instead should act from the opposition.

After the announcement of the unity government agreement Yamina said that "Netanyahu is showing us the way out."

According to party members, their disappointment with the agreement is centered on the fact that the right has not received a seat on the judiciary committee, and that Likud compromised on a series of ideological matters – including economic issues and handing the responsibility for Bedouin in the Negev to Labor chairman and economy-minister-to-be, Amir Peretz.

Yamina slate.

The heads of Yamina spoke Sunday with Netanyahu and asked for clarification on the nature of the coalition government, to which Netanyahu replied that he would answer their questions at a joint meeting, but as of this stage, such a meeting has not been scheduled.

Unofficially, the education portfolio was offered to remain with Yamina for the entire term of the unity government as well as a junior half-term file. The fact that there are more senior members in the party than junior ones – four of its six lawmakers are ministers – makes the coalition negotiations complex. Bennett believes that as the party's chairman he should be appointed senior minister.

Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of Tkuma faction of the alliance, believes that after a year as the Transportation Minister, he too deserves to be entrusted with a significant portfolio, and Ayelet Shaked – who was ousted by the government while Bennett was appointed defense minister – believes she now deserves compensation.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu promised Rafi Peretz, who heads the Habayit Hayehudi faction of the Yamina alliance, to continue on as Education Minister, regardless of the coalition negotiations.