Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reassured his Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, that he has not promised Ya’alon’s job to Jewish Home party chief Naftali Bennett if he forms the next government, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Monday.
Hearing rumors that his job had been earmarked for Bennett, Ya’alon sought a meeting with Netanyahu. The prime minister reassured him that he had cut no such deal, the report said.
Ya’alon then asked the prime minister to confirm that he’d be continuing in the defense position after the March 17, 2015, elections, but Netanyahu reportedly demurred, saying he couldn’t make any such commitment since he didn’t even know for certain that he’d still be prime minister.
Ya’alon is a former IDF chief of staff. Last Tuesday, in announcing that he’d called early elections, Netanyahu cited his harmonious working relationship with Ya’alon as one of the few positive aspects of his often-divided coalition.
Bennett, the economy minister, said on Sunday that he and Netanyahu had reached an agreement not to publicly attack each during the election campaign. Like Netanyahu, Bennett is a former soldier in the elite IDF General Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal). He was bitterly critical of Netanyahu’s approach to the war with Hamas this summer, urging that Israel defeat and disarm Hamas, rendering Gaza like the West Bank — “without missile factories, launchers, rockets, and tunnels.”