Palestinian set to become minister as Israel's 'government of change' edges closer to coalition deal

Palestinian set to become minister as Israel's 'government of change' edges closer to coalition deal
The government would include a Palestinian minister, Meretz’s Esawi Frej, as regional cooperation minister, sources familiar with the talks confirmed.
2 min read
26 May, 2021
Yair Lapid was been tasked with forming a government after Netanyahu's failure [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty]


Israeli centrist party Yesh Atid has reached a coalition deal with the far-right Yisrael Beytenu, pushing the proposed 'government of change' one step closer to power.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the agreement was made on Monday night.

The Israeli paper said the deal would see Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman as finance minister, with his deputy, Oked Forer, taking charge of the Knesset Finance Committee.

The right-wing party is also in line for two other ministerial posts, predicted to be the Negev and Galilee Development, and Aliyah and Integration briefs.

Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid's chief, was tasked with forming a government earlier this month after current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so.

The Jerusalem Post said the leader of the opposition informed his party he will "leave no stone unturned", despite the creation of a government remaining unlikely.

Live Story

The newspaper reported that Lapid's party is attempting to secure deals with all other potential coalition partners.

This done, they will offer Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Yamina, a coalition that would have the necessary majority with his support.

However, Gideon Saar, head of the Likud breakaway party New Hope, wants it to be apparent Yamina that will be onboard prior to signing up.

Following this news, an inside source on Tuesday said Palestinian parliamentarian Esawi Frej of the left-wing Meretz party would take the proposed government's regional cooperation brief.

New Hope is reportedly fine with this, however, there are signs of discontent elsewhere in the coalition.

"This has no connection to" Naftali Bennett's Yamina, a spokesperson for the party said.

Meanwhile, Religious Zionist parliamentarian Itamar Ben-Gvir went further, saying "Esawi can be a minister in Syria and would do good work, but not in the State of Israel."

On Wednesday, The Times of Israel reported that an anonymous source told Channel 13: "The government is almost finalized, we are waiting for Bennett."

Nevertheless, Haaretz said negotiations were still ongoing, including with Blue and White.

Moreover, the "government of change" would not be able to come to power with just Yamina. It would still require the largely Palestinian Ra'am or Joint List to participate.