Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was reportedly in talks with Likud to join the opposition party after Yamina MK Idit Silman left the coalition this week, leaving the government without a majority.
Shaked, who is also a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina, was told by Likud officials after Silman’s announcement on Sunday that she had two hours to decide whether she would join the party or they would look for a second Knesset member to jump off, Channel 12 news reported Friday.
According to the report, which did not cite a source, officials told Shaked that she could get any role she wanted if she went in for Likud, which is led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The network said Shaked, however, rejected the time ultimatum, and after meeting Yamina MKs Nir Orbach and Abir Kara, he informed Likud that the three had agreed to work as a group.
Likud officials reportedly offered Yamina lawmakers reserved seats on their board at the next election, but Shaked, Kara and Orbach decided to try to take another chance to support the government.
The report came after Yamina on Thursday declared rebel MK Amichai Chikli a defector and sent a strong message to Kara and Orbach, who both met with Bennett the day before.
The coalition – an unlikely alliance of eight disparate parties – has struggled to keep other potential defectors in line and project stability, though it is on the brink of collapse after Silman’s departure.
As Silman leaves the coalition but not the Knesset, Bennett’s government has only 60 of 120 seats. The roads ahead of the coalition and the Knesset are not immediately clear, and a new election is seen as the most likely outcome, but the timeline is still uncertain.
Silman told The Times of Israel’s Hebrew side Zman Yisrael in an exclusive interview on Thursday that she left the coalition in protest of the “erosion of Jewish identity” in the government, which includes left-wing and Arab parties along with her own Yamina and other right-wingers. . -flyed fractions.
Her departure came days after she publicly criticized Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz over his insistence that hospitals comply with rules that allow hametz – fermented products banned by religiously observant Jews over Easter – to be brought into the facilities.
She denied that Likud had drawn her into the opposition by promising a ministerial portfolio and other political benefits, but claimed that the current coalition had offered to give her the Ministry of Health to win her support back, which she said she rejected.