PM toasts reelection at cabinet meeting, Bennett and Shaked are no-shows


Two prominent ministers were noticeably absent Sunday in the first cabinet meeting since last week’s general election.

The meeting was conducted at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem in a celebratory atmosphere after most of the members of the current government won reelection last Tuesday.

But Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, whose New Right list narrowly failed to clear the 3.25 percent threshold of votes needed to enter the next Knesset, did not attend the meeting.

“I want to praise the members of this government for four years of accomplishments, a great many accomplishments,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his opening remarks.

“This is obvious from the public’s decision to renew our mandate, as a result of the tremendous things we have done in all areas represented at this table. We will continue to do so in the next government as well, and with God’s help we will succeed,” the prime minister said, before the ministers toasted their election success with glasses of wine.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, alongside Cabinet Secretary Tzahi Braverman, on March 17, 2019. (Amit Shabi/Pool/Courtesy)

Bennett and Shaked split from the Jewish Home party ahead of the election, then ran in the New Right list. Winning nearly 140,000 votes, they failed to make it past the 3.25% threshold by just 1,461 votes.

Earlier in the day Likud MK and former coalition chairman David Bitan called for Shaked to be appointed a minister in the next government, despite her not winning a Knesset seat.

Netanyahu also reiterated his promise to have the Israeli government back a second “Beresheet” moon mission after the first one crashed on the moon’s surface on April 11.

“Over the weekend, Israel made history. We became one of seven countries that have successfully orbited the moon and one of four that landed on it, though our landing wasn’t optimal,” he told the ministers.

One of the last photos taken by Beresheet before crash landing into the moon on April 11, 2019. (Courtesy SpaceIL)

“This is an astounding achievement for the combined efforts of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries that the state of Israel supported. We’re going to launch Beresheet 2….with the State of Israel’s support.”

SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn on Saturday announced he was launching project Beresheet 2, effective immediately, saying: “We started something and we need to finish it. We’ll put our flag on the moon.”

Netanyahu added that the first mission “proved first of all our capabilities, our aspirations, and the fact that we’re not swayed by failure. The difference between winners and losers is that we don’t give up. We will try again and again until we succeed.”

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