Bennett Partymate Shaked Slams future-PM Lapid in Leaked Recordings

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked is heard saying that Yair Lapid commits blunders every week that PM Bennett rescues him from, and that the rotation agreement for the premiership is still up in the air

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Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at a conference in Jerusalem, this month.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at a conference in Jerusalem, this month.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked called Foreign Minister Yair Lapid "shallow" and said he causes a fiasco every week, according to recordings aired on Channel 12 News on Wednesday night, which did not specify when or where she made the remarks.

The statements come as Israel's fragile coalition prepares for a key vote.

Shaked added that Lapid, who is set to take the role of Prime Minister after Shaked's fellow Yamina member Naftali Bennett, has committed three blunders from which "Naftali saved him," referencing one vis-à-vis Jordan and another with the United States.

"Naftali rescued him, no doubt about it," she is heard saying.

Shaked also said on the recording of Defense Minister and former candidate for the premiership Benny Gantz: "He'll destroy everything. He's definitely not a prime minister." She can be heard adding, "Gantz is worse than Lapid. Much worse, I don't know."

According to Channel 12's report, Shaked said that the rotation between Bennett and Lapid for the role of prime minister is not guaranteed. When asked whether it will take place, she replied that she had no answer. "I don't know what'll happen. We'll wait another two years and see," she said. "It depends on whether there's a crisis or there isn't a crisis."

In response to the report, Shaked said that "The statements were said in a closed conversation in a moment of anger after briefings were published against [Shaked]. Minister Shaked regrets the statements and apologizes if they caused offense." The statement added that she apologized to Lapid in a phone call on Wednesday evening and clarified her remarks to him.

In about two weeks, the last date to approve the state budget will arrive, as a number of issues continue to divide the coalition. However, most of the coalition heads believe that the controversies will not prevent the budget's passage.

During a meeting of coalition leaders on Sunday, Labor head Merav Michaeli and Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz demanded that Bennett put the brakes on several controversial issues: Re-establishing the illegal outpost of Evyatar, advancing 1,300 housing units in the settlements as well as Defense Minister Benny Gantz's labeling of six Palestinian NGOs as terror groups. Bennett said he would hold a discussion on Gantz's announcement when the defense minister returns from a visit abroad.

On Friday, all coalition heads are expected to meet in a so-called team day and iron out the difference. The law names November 14 as the day in which the budget must be passed, but to avoid the possibility of a renegade coalition lawmaker voting against it and toppling the government, the coalition heads plan to vote on it ten days earlier. In such a scenario, even if there is no majority for passing the budget, Bennett and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman can bring the budget to another vote and secure a majority.

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