Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz slammed Finance Minister Yair Lapid after the latter demanded the former be removed from a meeting in mid-July of the inner cabinet, of which Steinitz is not a member.
"That's Lapid's arrogance and boastfulness," Steinitz said Saturday on Channel 2's "Meet the Press," in his first public mention of the incident.
Over the past few months, Lapid has frequently criticized Steinitz's conduct as finance minister in the previous government, particularly in regard to his predecessor's responsibility for the state's massive budget deficit.
Steinitz, who had kept a low profile on the matter, also lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who gave in to Lapid's demand that Steinitz leave the meeting of the political-security cabinet.
Calling the incident "unnecessary and embarrassing," Steinitz went on to say, "That man has been a cabinet minister for just three months. He reaches the 'Holy of Holies,' the political-security cabinet, without having been in the previous government and without knowing how it operates. He acts like a person who believes he deserves to have everything," Steinitz said.
The minister of strategic and intelligence affairs also had some choice words for Netanyahu. "I don't absolve the prime minister. He should have behaved differently. He demonstrated weakness and an error of judgment. He should have made it clear who's the boss," Steinitz said, adding, "I told Lapid during the handoff that there were two critical things a finance minister must remember: One, to give up on popularity and chasing after the media and the Facebook status updates. Two, to be thorough and not make decisions casually."
In June, a similar clash reportedly occurred when Lapid demanded Steinitz leave a political-security cabinet meeting on the defense budget and, in the wake of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement on the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, also included a discussion of political matters. According to Channel 2, Lapid pointed out to Netanyahu that they have an agreement: When the prime minister wants Steinitz to sit in on such political discussions, Lapid is entitled to have Yesh Atid colleague Jacob Perry there as well. Lapid told Netanyahu that because Perry had not been invited to the session, he would like the prime minister to honor their agreement and ask Steinitz to step out. Steinitz refused to leave and had some harsh words for Lapid, but then Netanyahu intervened and asked Steinitz to leave.
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