Ministers justify staying despite Ulpana vote (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 06/07/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ministers and deputy ministers
offered excuses and mixed metaphors for remaining in his government
Wednesday despite their repeated promises to leave over the outpost
bill that failed to pass.
Even after Netanyahu threatened to fire any of them who would vote
for the bill, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz
(Habayit Hayehudi), Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud),
and Likud Deputy Ministers Ayoub Kara, Gila Gamliel and Leah Ness had
all said they would risk getting fired. But when their names were
called, they all were absent from the plenum.
Herschkowitz said the battle for the bill had already been lost. He
said settler leaders had pleaded with him to stay and fight on their
behalf from inside the government.
“I decided not to dive in to an empty pool,” he said.
“Leaders are tested in moments when they have to think with their
heads even when their stomachs are turning over. We will not play
into Peace Now’s hands. We will continue the struggle for settlements
from where the decisions are made. There won’t be a more right-wing
government than this one.”
Kara said that after Herschkowitz and Edelstein absented themselves
from the vote, their associates begged him not to show them up by
being the only one who would go in the plenum and get fired.
“I was the last one left,” he said. “Why did I have to be the only
one who doesn’t move at the last second and gets hit by the train?”
In a statement delivered at the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu
thanked Edelstein and Herschowitz for “displaying responsibility at a
difficult time.” He expressed gratitude to Foreign Minister Avigdor
Liberman, who started a chain of ministers backing off from
supporting the bill Wednesday morning.
But Netanyahu’s coalition may still face a threat. Habayit Hayehudi
MK Zevulun Orlev, who initiated the bill, said he would recommend
that his faction leave the government over its opposition to the bill.
Because there are no institutions in Habayit Hayehudi, decisions are
made by majority rule in the three-MK faction.
With Herschowitz and Orlev on opposite sides, the decision would be
made by MK Uri Orbach, but he is in the hospital suffering from a
Another possible change in the coalition is the man who heads it.
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin angered Netanyahu by voting for the
bill. Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu was considering replacing him
with MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, who voted against it.
Such a change would require a secret-ballot vote in the Likud
faction. The report could not be confirmed.
“There are times when even if you know a bill won’t pass, you have to
act according to your conscience and vote for it so you will be able
to go to people and say you did everything possible for them,” Elkin
said. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/07/12)
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