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Lapid’s change gov’t will have an Arab minister – MK Frej

CM 25/05/2021 2

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The government of change being formed by opposition leader Yair Lapid would include an Arab minister, Meretz MK Esawi Frej, as regional cooperation minister, sources familiar with the talks confirmed on Tuesday.
Frej would be one of three Meretz ministers, along with Nitzan Horowitz as minister of health and Tamar Zandberg as environmental protection minister. 

A source in New Hope said the party had no problem with Frej. 
A Yamina spokesman said “this has no connection to us.”
Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir responded that “Esawi can be a minister in Syria and would do good work, but not in the State of Israel.”  

During Operation Guardian of the Walls, Frej called for solidarity between Arabs and Jews on Twitter.
“At this time it is forbidden to be silent!” he wrote. “The anarchy in the streets of Ramle, Lod and other places threatens our existence as a society. We now have one task as public leaders – to work for calm, to [build] understanding between Arabs and Jews as neighbors and not enemies. Please, return to your houses and stop the violence.”

Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party finalized a coalition agreement with Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu Party overnight Monday.
The agreement includes matters of religion and state and building new hospitals in the Negev and Galilee.
Under the deal, Liberman will be finance minister, his number two in the party MK Oded Forer will head the Knesset Finance Committee and the party will receive two more portfolios, which are expected to be the Negev and Galilee Development and the Aliyah and Integration ministries.
Yesh Atid is trying to reach agreements with every party that would join the coalition and then present a ready government to Yamina leader Naftali Bennett. New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar is causing trouble, however, by refusing to finalize a deal until it is clear that Yamina will join.
Lapid sent Frej to submit a bill that would disperse the Knesset if a coalition cannot be built, so it would be clear to the public that it would be the fault of Bennett for not joining the government. Yesh Atid asked Likud to support the bill.
Yesh Atid also revealed that its negotiating team had made significant progress toward forming a coalition when it met with Yisrael Beytenu, Labor and Blue and White on Monday morning at Ramat Gan’s Kfar Maccabiah hotel and convention center.
Lapid told his Yesh Atid faction the chances of forming a government were still not high, but he would “leave no stone unturned” in trying. To that end, Lapid met personally on Sunday with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, Labor leader Merav Michaeli and New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar.
“In the coming days, I’ll do everything to form a government,” he said. “Anyone who wants to come and talk: My door is open. We’ll sit, we’ll talk, we’ll think together how to build the best possible government for the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel.”
Lapid said he had not spoken to Bennett recently and that he thought coalition talks could continue until the last moment before his mandate ends on June 2. Yesh Atid is trying to finish the deals with every party except Yamina and then present Bennett with a government on a silver platter.
But Bennett continued playing hard to get, telling his Yamina faction that a government of change was not possible. When The Jerusalem Post asked Bennett’s No. 2, MK Ayelet Shaked, after the meeting whether she thought a deal with her party could be completed in the week ahead, she said: “I don’t see it happening.”
Asked whether she felt an obligation to complete the process before the presidential election to allow President Reuven Rivlin to come full circle, she shook her head no.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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