When All Else Failed, Netanyahu Turned to Spiritual Guidance

Israel is a modern and largely secular democracy, but religion continues to play a major role in government

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government almost fell this week. According to new reports, it was saved thanks to a bit of spiritual intervention.

Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned and pulled his Yisrael Beiteinu party out of the coalition in protest over what many felt was a premature ceasefire in the latest round of Gaza fighting. Immediately after, Education Minister Naftali Bennett threatened to likewise quit the government along with his Jewish Home party if he wasn't appointed as the new minister of defense. That would have left Netanyahu with a minority coalition, and made early elections impossible to avoid.

Netanyahu fought back by insisting that there was a looming security crisis to which the public was not privy, but that necessitated keeping his government in power for as long as possible.

Many weren't convinced. Among them was the spiritual leader of Bennett's Jewish Home faction, Rabbi Haim Druckman.

According to Hadashot TV news, Netanyahu's people, including National Security Council head Meir Ben Shabbat, sought the rabbi's help in saving the ruling coalition from collapse. Druckman responded that he needed proof that what Netanyahu said about a looming crisis was true, and so he was purportedly shown classified security information.

The very next day, Bennett called a press conference and announced that he had dropped his ultimatum and would remain in Netanyahu's government under Netanyahu's terms.

PHOTO: Bennett and Rabbi Druckman at a 2013 event confirming that the Jewish Home party would join the Netanyahu government. (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)


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