On Monday, the cabinet voted to approve the reappointment of MK MatanKahanaof the Yamina party as religious affairs minister. He had given up his post on Friday for returning to the Knesset. According to the Norwegian Law, he had been required to resign from his ministerial position in order to become a part of the Knesset again. Kahana had resigned from the Knesset last year to focus solely on his ministerial post and his place had been taken up by YomtobKalfon, another member of the Yamina party, who has now been ousted. Reports indicated that the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had decided to oust Kalfonafter learning that he was planning on defecting and would vote against the coalition in order to topple it.
Cabinet ministers advanced Kahana’s candidacy in a telephone vote and will now be brought before the Knesset. This is where the Yamina lawmaker requires a majority in order to be reappointed against as the religious affairs minister. However, there are only 60 MKs in the ruling bloc now, after IditSilman, the Yamina MK, announced her resignation from the coalition in the previous month. This ate up the coalition’s majority of 61 in a 120-member Knesset, which has made the vote a rather difficult task.
Meanwhile, Kahana’s appointment as the deputy religious affairs minister also received approval from the cabinet and no approval of the Knesset is needed for this step. On Monday, Kalfonbroke his silence and disclose that Bennett’s decision to oust him from the Knesset had come as a shock to him. He also insisted that he had had no plans of defecting the way Silman had done. It should be noted that Bennett has not publicly stated that Kalfon was planning on joining the opposition. On Saturday, Bennett had tweeted that he was grateful for what Kalfon had done in terms of immigration absorption.
The Prime Minister had been full of praise for Kalfon and what he had done globally for the Jews and also for working on behalf of the Samaria and Judea settlements. He added that Yomtob would continue to play important public roles and make contributions to Israel in the future as well. Kahana had announced his decision of resigning from his ministerial post on Friday afternoon and that he would return as a Knesset member for ‘strengthen’ the coalition. The media reports had indicated on Saturday that Bennett had offered several positions to Kalfonoutside of the Knesset.
This was done in a move to part ways on positive terms. But, the reports had also indicated that Kalfon had not decided which way he will go. He had not accepted any of the offered positions as yet. Nonetheless, this is yet another indication that there are divisions within the coalition and it is teetering, which provides the opposition the opportunity to try and topple it over and schedule fresh elections that could turn out in their favor. But, they have not had any luck so far in doing so.