In a U-turn of his previous position, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu says far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir “certainly can” be a minister in his cabinet if he forms a government after the election.
In 2021 ahead of the previous election, Netanyahu said Ben Gvir was “not fit” to be in the cabinet,” because “his positions are not mine,” though he acknowledged then that he would be part of the coalition he hoped to form.
Speaking now at a conference organized by Channel 14, Netanyahu is asked directly whether Ben Gvir can serve as a minister. He “certainly can,” the former prime minister answers, adding that “anyone” elected from Religious Zionism can be a minister and that “this is entirely obvious.”
Asked about Religious Zionism chief Bezalel Smotrich’s statements that the party will demand top ministries in a future government including defense and finance, Netanyahu says: “I certainly understand [his assertions] but I’m sorry to say that will not happen. Or rather I’m not sorry, I’m happy to say that will not happen.”
He says Likud needs to win a large number of seats “to be able to govern.” This will enable to the party to clearly set the policy agenda, he says.
“Let it be clear,” he goes on. “Everyone will be full and respected partners in the government but central portfolios such as defense, foreign affairs and finance — these portfolios need to be held by Likud.”