TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday fired ministers Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, leaders of the New Right party that failed to cross the electoral threshold in the April 9 elections.
The two were informed of the decision in what was described by Army Radio as a “laconic, one line letter.”
Effective Tuesday, Shaked will cease her role as justice minister while Bennett’s dual roles as education minister and diaspora minister will terminate.
As a result, the two will not longer be part of the cabinet.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank the people of Israel for the rare privilege to serve them as ministers of education and justice,” they said in a joint statement.
“Everything we have done was for the good of the State of Israel and its citizens. We will hand over the offices we chaired in an organized fashion, to the ministers who will replace us, to ensure a smooth transition and so that the next school year will open in order.”
Netanyahu is now likely to fill the cabinet seats with members of his own Likud party.
Netanyahu is said to have dismissed calls from Likud MKs to bring Shaked into the party, with some even claiming that Sara Netanyahu was behind the veto.
“Ayelet Shaked won’t be in Likud. Period,” she reportedly said.
On Sunday evening, Netanyahu said he had not yet decided who would take the vacated ministerial positions, but would make the new appointments within 48 hours. He said he had no plans to keep the justice, education and diaspora affairs portfolios for himself.
Bezalel Smotrich of the Union of Right Wing Parties called on Netanyahu to appoint him and URWP head Rafi Peretz to the roles.
“Religious Zionism has one party and it should sit at the cabinet table,” he tweeted.