Bennett in closed meeting: Government will likely disband, Lapid won’t be prime minister

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (r) and Alternate PM Yair Lapid seen during the swearing in of the new Israeli government at the Knesset, June 13, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

By World Israel News Staff

Exposure of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s comments that he expects the government to fall before Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid gets his turn to take over the premiership follows that of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who also was heard saying she doubted the fragile coalition would last much longer, Channel 12 reported Thursday evening.

According to the agreement made by Bennett and Lapid, the rotation is scheduled to take place on August 27, 2023.

In a closed conversation with his associates recently, Bennett said: “There is a good chance that the rotation will not materialize. I estimate that it will not take place, and the government will probably fall apart between the budget transfer and the exchange date – for a variety of reasons.”

If the government – made up of parties across the political spectrum, with opposing interests – cannot pass a budget by November 14, the government will automatically dissolve.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in response to the report: “As he said from the first moment – Prime Minister Bennett will abide by the rotation agreement in full. The partnership with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, is based on mutual trust and fairness.”

Lapid slammed what he said were efforts by his opponents to cause friction between himself and Bennett. “Both the Prime Minister and I have one goal: to pass a budget and strengthen the government. I will not be distracted by leaks and recordings intended only to harm,” he tweeted.

“We will continue to work well together for the benefit of the State of Israel.”

The report comes after recordings were publicized of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked – number two in Bennett’s Yamina party – sharply criticizing her coalition partners, particularly Lapid, and opining that the rotation between Lapid and Bennett will not happen.

After Shaked’s comments were reported in the press, her spokesperson said: “These things were said in a closed conversation in anger after briefings were published against the minister. Minister Shaked regretted the things and is sorry if they hurt anyone.”

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