Ben Gvir to get newly created role of national security minister in deal with Likud

Likud and Otzma Yehudit agreed early Friday on the positions the far-right party will take in the incoming government, with Itamar Ben Gvir agreeing to serve in the newly created post of national security minister (an expanded public security minister position).

The parties signed an addendum to the coalition agreement, but the full agreement does not yet detail the posts Otzma Yehudit will receive.

In addition to the Ministry of National Security, The party is in the Negev; He will also hold the development portfolio of the Galilee and National Fortitude Ministry (not yet official in English). heritage portfolio; Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Economy Chairmanship of the Public Security Committee of the Hluttaw and serving as rotating chairman of the Special Committee for the Israel Citizens Fund (which oversees state revenue from gas drilling).

The Negev and Galilee Ministry will be headed by Otzma Yehudit No. 2 Yitzhak Wasserlauf, while Amichai Eliyahu will be in charge of the Heritage Ministry portfolio.

The Negev and Galilee Ministry will receive an annual budget of NIS 2 billion and will also be responsible for carrying out regulations on new West Bank settlements.

MK Almog Cohen will chair the Public Security Committee, with former IDF Secretary General Zvika Fogel as Deputy Economy Minister. MK Limor Son Har-Melech will take a position on Otzma Yehudit’s gas-related property committee.

Almog Cohen (L) and Yitzhak Wasserlauf of Otzma Yehudit in the Knesset; November 21st 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The agreement also includes a broad National Guard formation and an agreement to expand the Border Patrol.

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Ben Gvir’s ministry will control the West Bank branch of the Border Police, currently under the Ministry of Defense, with some input from the Ministry of Public Security.

The move would also mean a delay in relocating outposts to safer areas, as well as reining in Border Patrol agents involved in police riots in the West Bank.

There would also be an “extended southern law” that would allow thieves caught stealing weapons from military bases to be shot and arrested.

Last year, the military amended its rules of engagement to make it easier for soldiers to shoot gun thieves and smugglers in an effort to crack down on crime. It was not immediately clear what the impact of the legislative change would be.

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben Gvir at the parliament building in Jerusalem on November 15 for the swearing-in ceremony for the new Knesset. Arrived in 2022. (Abir Sultan / Pool Photo via AP)

In a statement, Ben Gvir said “the agreement is a big step towards signing a full coalition agreement and forming a fully right-wing government” and that it would join earlier agreements with Likud, such as the legal terms of the flashpoint West Bank. Homesh Yeshiva and Evyatar Outpost.

Earlier this week, two senior former police officers publicly warned that the anticipated changes in relations between the police force and the Minister of Public Security (as he is now known) could spell the end of Israeli democracy, as requested by Ben Gvir.

The agreement with Otzma Yehudit marked slow but steady progress in Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to form a coalition after this month’s election, moving closer to a full agreement with Otzma Yehudit and the Haredi Shas party.

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Protracted negotiations have dampened Netanyahu’s hopes of forming a government quickly after the bloc was handed a majority of 120 seats in November 1 elections. The talks were dynamic and sometimes hit roadblocks with competing demands from his colleagues.

According to Channel 12 News. The parties currently hold the “periphery” portfolio, as Shas insists, referring to the often poor towns outside Israel’s central population centers. The parties agreed to split the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry. — because it sees these regions as a major part of its voter base.

Meanwhile, Shas will receive the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as the Health and Social Security portfolio.

Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri met with Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu at a hotel in Jerusalem on November 16, 2022. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

However, Deri’s eligibility to be a minister is in question after the attorney general said his recent corruption conviction could bar him from holding a cabinet position for seven years. Deri was given a suspended 12-month prison sentence last year, but resigned from parliament before signing a plea deal to avoid moral turpitude.

Shas and Likud are reportedly seeking to change the law to allow the Shas leader, who served 22 months in prison from 2000 to 2002, to be reinstated as a minister for bribery.

At that time, Likud appears to have stalled talks with Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism.

Smotrich has asked for either the defense ministry or the finance ministry, and Netanyahu appears to have agreed in recent days to give him the last time in the government’s first two years. Although progress was reported, Talks with Smotrich remain mired in mutual accusations, with Likud accusing Netanyahu of reneging on promises and pious Zionism making exaggerated demands on the far-right party.

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Apart from the first two years in the Ministry of Finance. Smotrich has reportedly claimed portfolios on settlement issues and immigrant absorption, as well as chairing four of the 11 coalition-controlled Knesset committees.

Citing sources involved in the talks, Haaretz reported that Smotrich asked for control of the state’s proselytization system.

Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with Religious Zionist Party head MK Bezalel Smotrich on November 15, 2022. Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the 25th Knesset in Jerusalem. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Likud, part of the defense ministry that administers Area C in the West Bank, where all Israeli settlers and thousands of Palestinians live under Israeli civilian and military control, has agreed to give Smotrich control of the civilian administration, according to reports.

But in a lengthy statement issued on Wednesday, Religious Zionism accused Likud of constantly leaking to the press as part of coalition negotiations, accusing the party of wanting to “underfoot, humiliate and sideline”.

The party charged that “things did not go well” for more than a decade under Netanyahu, and security, Judiciary “This time promises to be different,” he said, referring to his often radical list of demands for solutions. religious matters

Earlier on Wednesday, Likud MK Yariv Levin, the leader of the coalition negotiating party, said in private statements that Smotrich’s demands to transfer parts of ministries to civilian administration would form “a government within a government”. The questions are “false”.

At the same time, United Torah Judaism, the second Haredi party in the potential coalition, is expected to get the housing ministry and social equality ministry to expand the finance ministry’s labor department.

UTJ’s Moshe Gafni was appointed chairman of the Knesset’s interim finance committee on Monday, with the party Labor; He wants to control the Health and Home Affairs and Environment committees.

But he also argued that the Haredi party felt sidelined in the negotiations.

Coalition talks between the parties have been ongoing since Netanyahu was given a 28-day mandate to form a government earlier this month amid debate over appointments and legislative priorities. The mandate expires on December 11, but can be extended for up to two weeks.

Carrie Keller-Lynn and Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.


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