Netanyahu said to yell at Wasserlauf in appointment row: I will not accept ministers threatening the PM

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 23, 2024 (Screen grab/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 23, 2024 (Screen grab/GPO)

During a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly yells at far-right lawmaker Yitzhak Wasserlauf, who is the Negev, Galilee and National Resilience Minister, and accuses him of threatening not to vote with the coalition over a disagreement regarding a government appointment.

“I heard that you do not agree with political appointments for the northern project director and you are threatening not to vote in the government,” the Ynet news site quotes Netanyahu as saying to the minister. “I am telling you that this is not acceptable for me. I am not ready for ministers to threaten the prime minister and will not accept such a thing.”

In response, Wasserlauf is reported to have told Netanyahu that he had “a lot to say but because I respect you, Mr. Prime Minister, I will not open my mouth in this forum and will tell you in person.”

Shortly before verbally sparring with Wasserlauf, Netanyahu announced the appointment of Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Yiftach Ron-Tal to head the Tekuma Authority in the south and Vice Admiral (Res.) Eliezer Marom as the official in charge of the rehabilitation of northern communities damaged in fighting with Hezbollah, a position originally supposed to go to Avi Cohen-Scali.

Negev, Galilee and National Resilience Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf a meeting at the Knesset, June 26, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Wasserlauf, who is a member of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party, was one of multiple coalition and opposition lawmakers to protest delays in the appointment of Cohen-Scali.

The Kan public broadcaster reported last week that Netanyahu was reconsidering Cohen-Scali for the role due to pressure from various people within his circle, a day after officials in his office said the prime minister had made the choice.

Otzma Yehudit announced it would cease voting with the coalition earlier this month to force Netanyahu to reveal details of a proposal for a Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal. The party reversed itself several days later following Hamas’s reported rejection of the agreement.

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