Netanyahu in full control as rival quits

"As long as I had faith in the Prime Minister I remained in the government," said Dan Meridor, the Israeli Finance Minister, explaining his overnight resignation from the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

In theory, his departure came after a disagreement over currency reform. But Israeli commentators have no doubt that the Prime Minister wanted to get rid of a long-term rival.

Once again Mr Netanyahu has underlined his ruthlessness and effectiveness in disposing of enemies. A shocked Mr Meridor, a leading member of the Likud party, said the Prime Minister had suddenly developed an intense interest in the extent to which the shekel, the Israeli currency, will be allowed to float. Rejecting a compromise worked out with the Bank of Israel, Mr Netanyahu insisted on a cabinet vote, which went against Mr Meridor.

Had Mr Meridor resigned two months ago, when police called for the indictment of the Prime Minister over the appointment of Roni Bar-On, one of his political cronies, as the attorney- general, Mr Netanyahu might have suffered serious political damage. But the departure of the Finance Minister now, probably to be replaced by Ariel Sharon, the Infrastructure Minister, or by Yaakov Neeman, a former Justice Minister, is something that Mr Netanyahu can afford to take in his stride.

The timing of Mr Meridor's resignation confirms the impression that he has poor judgement. At the time of the Bar-On affair, few of Mr Netanyahu's cabinet came out in his support. The scandal was laid to rest last Sunday when the Supreme Court rejected petitions against the decision by the attorney-general not to prosecute the Prime Minister.

Mr Netanyahu appears to have decided to move immediately against Mr Meridor. He may also have decided to target other members of the cabinet suspected of disloyalty during the scandal.

Mr Netanyahu is looking more secure than at any time during his first year in office. He has his cabinet under control. Confrontation with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, over building a new Jewish settlement at Har Homa, in Jerusalem, has not provoked widespread violence. US support for Israel has not faltered and the anger of Arab states has proved ineffectual.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss