Israel’s hardline education minister gives PM ultimatum

By Abdel Raouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett has threatened to withdraw his Jewish Home party from the government if he is not granted the defense portfolio following the abrupt resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"If Bennett isn’t made defense minister, his party will bolt from the governing coalition," the Jerusalem Post quoted one party official as saying.

Earlier, the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation quoted a senior Likud official as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would likely assume the defense portfolio following Lieberman's exit.

Lieberman on Wednesday abruptly resigned from his post one day after a ceasefire was reached between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel.

Lieberman announced his resignation at a closed-door meeting of members of his Yisrael Beiteinu party.

If Bennet’s Jewish Home party withdraws from the government, Netanyahu’s current Likud-led coalition will lose its Knesset majority, making it vulnerable to a parliamentary vote of no-confidence.