Israel's Defense Minister Gantz Accuses PM Bennett of Taking Credit for Cabinet's Work

Israel's prime minster tells defense minister to find praise of him and others on Facebook during a cabinet meeting, and urges ministers to close ranks to pass next budget

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Israel's Prime Minister Bennett at a cabinet meeting, on Sunday.
Israel's Prime Minister Bennett at a cabinet meeting, on Sunday.Credit: Abir Sultan/AP

Defense Minister Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of not sharing the credit for the government's achievements with his ministers on Sunday. Bennett said to Gantz that he praises him and the other ministers regularly on his Facebook page, to which Gantz responded: "I'll look into it, thanks."

"This isn't a one-person government," said Gantz at a closed-door cabinet meeting on Sunday. He complained that Bennett left him out of most of his remarks on security matters in his speech as if he were "the welfare minister."

Welfare Minister Meir Cohen told Gantz: "Being the welfare minister is hard, you try it."

Gantz added that "Everything that happens here relies on the work of one minister or another. It's better to say these things in front of the camera, too." Bennett then said to check his Facebook, where he will find many compliments. Gantz replied: "You're right, I'll look for the support there, thanks."

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset, last week.Credit: Noam Moshkovitz/Knesset Spokesperson

During the meeting Bennett said: "We must not go back to a regime of endless elections and governmental paralysis," adding that the government intends on passing a state budget in June and that he expects all ministers to be fully involved in the task.

The past year, Bennett said, "proves that we can work together, that it is possible to manage Israel seriously and to bring in good results."

On Sunday Bennett's party member Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana resigned from his position. He will return to the Knesset as a Yamina MK and will replace MK Yomtob Kalfon.

Kalfon initially became a Knesset member thanks to the “Norwegian Law,” which allows cabinet members to resign from the Knesset, giving their place to the next candidate on their party’s slate. According to political sources, Yamina began to fear that Kalfon will defect to the opposition and acted to prevent such a move.

The concern over Kalfon emerged in Bennett's inner circle about three weeks ago. Though they couldn't prove that Kalfon held meetings with Netanyahu or his emissaries, they announced his departure on Friday. The decision was made, among other reasons, because of his absence from the votes last week in the plenum, according to political sources.

Officially, the Prime Minister's Office claims that Kahana's decision to resign from his position as minister had nothing to do with the concerns about Kalfon, but rather because keeping the balance in the Knesset is the most important goal at this time.

People close to Bennett said Kalfon was informed of the decision on Thursday and that he "accepted it with understanding."

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