JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israel’s Prime Minister-Elect Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to secure coalition agreements with the chareidi factions or with Religious Zionism, but he has succeeded in negotiating agreements with the most right-wing elements of his putative coalition – Itamar Ben-Gvir (Jewish Force) and Avi Maoz (Noam).
Jewish Force signed an agreement which will give Itamar Ben-Gvir control over a new ministry named National Security (in place of the Public Security ministry) and enable him to attain power over the Border Police in Judea and Samaria. Ben-Gvir’s party will also receive the ministry of Negev and Galilee, enabling his party to fulfill election promises to beef up security in both regions, which have suffered from significant levels of crime in recent years. The ministry will be held by MK Yitzhak Wasserlauf. Ben-Gvir’s 6-man faction will also hold the Heritage Ministry, which will administer archaeological sites, including in Judea and Samaria. MK Amichai Eliyahu, the son of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, is expected to hold this position.
In addition, MK Almog Cohen is to become Deputy Economics Minister, although this appointment is tentative and could be replaced with another position; MK Tzvika Fogel will serve as chairman of the Knesset Public Security Committee; and MK Limor Son Har-Melech will chair the Knesset’s Special Committee for the Israeli Citizens’ Fund.
Avi Maoz’s 1-man faction also signed an agreement with the Likud on Sunday and will receive control over a new authority which will be established in the next government.
Maoz will be appointed deputy minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, with control over a Jewish National Identity Authority which will be created within the Prime Minister’s Office.
Furthermore, Maoz will be given control over the Nativ bureau, which is charged with managing relations between the State of Israel and Jews living in Eastern Europe. Maoz has stated that he plans to change the eligibility for Jewish immigration to Israel by removing the ability for grandchildren of Jews who are not Jews themselves to qualify under Israel’s Law of Return. Maoz also hopes to change the law to exclude non-orthodox conversion from eligibility for citizenship.
Maoz has also said that he wants to increase Jewish education in Israeli public schools and wants to scrap unspecified “progressive study programs,” including “gender studies.” Maoz has recently advocated shutting down Pride parades, reinstating “mother” and “father” on government forms in lieu of the newly-adopted “parent,” and enabling LGBTQ conversion therapy.
Maoz has pushed to “immediately” close the Israel Defense Forces’ gender affairs unit that promotes women’s place in the military. He is against women in combat positions, has called to shut down egalitarian prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, and supports a religious party-backed proposal to legalize gender segregation at public events.
Maoz’s appointment angered left-wing elements, with Prime Minister Yair Lapid lashing out at Netanyahu’s agreement and terming it “no less than insanity.”
Labor leader Merav Michaeli, said Israel was facing a “dark age.”
Posting the photo of Netanyahu and Maoz shaking hands after reaching the deal, Michaeli wrote: “The prime minister-designate next to a racist, chauvinist homophobe. It’s stomach-turning. We will fight them in any way possible. We won’t allow them to plunge Israel into the abyss.”
Labor MK Gilad Kariv, a Reform rabbi, called the appointment a “slap in the face” to secular people, traditionalist Jews, women and LGBTQ elements.
“MK Maoz will find that the majority of the public will stand up to his party’s attempts to proselytize and sow hatred,” Kariv tweeted.