Lapid claimed to have caused diplomatic errors with the US and Jordan

A day after Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked de Yamina, a close political ally of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, accused Foreign Minister Yair Lapid of spoiling ties with the United States and Jordan, a television report said it referred to compromises. problems contracted with both countries that later had to walk back.

In recordings broadcast by Channel 12 news on Wednesday, Shaked was heard to speak ill of coalition partners Lapid and Benny Gantz and cast doubt on whether the prime minister rotation deal between Bennett and Lapid would be honored in 2023.

The recordings were the latest signs of growing fissures within the diverse coalition, ahead of a crucial budget vote next month on which the government’s survival depends.

On the tapes, No. 2 in Bennett’s party Yamina also accused Lapid of spoiling ties with Jordan and the United States. Shaked can be heard calling Lapid “superficial” on the tapes, while claiming that Bennett has to constantly clean up after him.

“Every week Lapid drops a bomb and Naftali comes to the rescue. Every week, and nobody knows it, ”he said, apparently referring to a diplomatic misstep.

“He did this like three times, with the Jordanians, with the Americans … and Naftali came to the rescue, unequivocally,” added Shaked.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, right, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz speak in the Knesset on September 2, 2021 (Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90).

While Shaked did not elaborate, Channel 12 said Thursday that it had identified all three instances.

The first was reportedly when Lapid promised US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call in July that there would be “no surprises” regarding Iran’s nuclear program, a compromise that appears to take away Israel’s capacity. to act unilaterally in case of danger.

The report said Bennett was forced to clarify to the Americans that the engagement was only with respect to diplomatic moves and that Israel reserves the right to take military action when it deems it necessary.

The second incident occurred when Lapid allegedly told Blinken that Israel’s opposition to the United States reopening its consulate in Jerusalem was a temporary political issue aimed at preserving the coalition, leading Americans to believe that it would pass once the coalition was stable, Channel 12 said, citing various government ministers.

However, Bennett was forced to clarify to US President Joe Biden that Israel’s opposition to the measure was deeply ideological and Israel would not agree to the measure even after the budget is approved.

The third incident involved ties to Jordan, according to the report, stating that in a meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Lapid approved of placing a copy of the Jordanian royal family’s Quran in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Mount From the temple.

The report said Lapid made the promise without realizing that such a move would have “far-reaching diplomatic and symbolic consequences.”

The report said that Bennett, in a subsequent meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, had to clarify that such a move was not going to happen.

Earlier this year, the dispute over Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan’s visit to the Temple Mount led Jordan to retaliate by preventing then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from using Jordanian airspace on a planned visit to the United Arab Emirates. .

Under its 1994 peace treaty, Israel recognizes Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism and the site of the third holiest shrine in Islam.

Paletinists chant slogans after Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on June 18, 2021. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Israel captured the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. However, it allowed the Jordanian Waqf to continue to maintain religious authority atop the mount, where Jews can visit. , but don’t pray.

The site has been a frequent flash point.

The television said this was the first time the incident had been reported and did not provide sources for the information.

In response to the report, Shaked, Lapid and Bennett declined to comment on the specific allegations, saying the leaks were part of an ongoing attempt to destabilize the coalition.

The Prime Minister’s Office also defended Lapid, saying he was “doing an excellent job of strengthening Israel’s position around the world, from Morocco to Washington.”

“Israel’s foreign relations are in wonderful shape. The prime minister and the foreign minister are working in full coordination, the statement said.

In the recordings released Wednesday, Shaked also attacked Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said he was “even worse than Lapid,” although he did not provide further information on the recordings.

The network also quoted Shaked as questioning whether Yamina will abide by the rotation agreement that would see Lapid take over as prime minister in 2023, though it did not air a recording of those comments.

It was unclear who Shaked was speaking to in the leaked recordings.

In a statement to the network, Shaked said she had made the remarks in anger after a minister made anonymous remarks against her to the press earlier this month, attacking her for saying she does not support a two-state solution during a visit. to the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, left, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, during a plenary session in the Knesset assembly hall in Jerusalem, on July 26, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel / Flash90).

Channel 12 said Shaked had called Lapid shortly before the television segment aired to express regret.

The incident comes amid rising tensions in the coalition of right, left and centrist parties, as well as the Islamist one. The tight ruling coalition must pass a 2021 budget by Nov. 14, and Bennett and other ministers have warned that nothing should be done in the run-up to that vote. If the long overdue budget, it would be the first state budget to be approved in more than three years, does not exceed the deadline, the coalition will automatically dissolve, prompting new elections.

The government will need all of its legislators on board to pass the budget.

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