Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett asked to be Education Minister Saturday night, giving up his previous demand of the Foreign Ministry in order to ensure his party will have two more ministers, Jerusalem Post reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Bennett he would give him an answer in the coming days.
Bennett’s move could pave the way for Netanyahu to bring Yisrael Beytenu into the coalition by offering Avigdor Liberman a third term in the Foreign Ministry.
Several Likud MKs have their eye on the Education Portfolio, including Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely and MKs Ze’ev Elkin and Gila Gamliel.
Bayit Yehudi is also demanding the Religious Affairs Ministry and pushing for chairmanship of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
On Friday, the Likud and Bayit Yehudi made progress, agreeing to the number of titles the latter party’s MKs will receive, but not which ones.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party offered Bayit Yehudi four ministries for three ministers, a deputy minister and a Knesset committee chairman, which the latter party accepted Friday, saying that the Likud met its demands.
However, Bayit Yehudi did not accept the Likud’s offer of the Economy Ministry, which party chairman Naftali Bennett currently leads, the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which Bennett would also head, the Agriculture Ministry and the Culture and Sport Ministry, as well a deputy minister position in the Education Ministry.
“Likud wants to make it seem like we’re about the sign, but that’s not the case.
Only now negotiations can really begin,” a source close to Bennett said Saturday night.
The source pointed out that other parties seem to be getting what they demand in terms of specific ministries – Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon is expected to be the new Finance Minister, United Torah Judaism will probably get the Health Portfolio and Knesset Finance Committee, Shas leader Arye Deri is likely to be the next Interior Minister and Yisrael Beytenu was promised Immigration and Absorption – but Bayit Yehudi was not offered any of the portfolios it has deemed important.