The tensions brewing between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz have reportedly prompted the prime minister to strip Katz of some of his ministerial powers, reshuffling his ministry's authorities accordingly.
Wednesday saw the Transportation, National Infrastructure and Road Safety Ministry lose the "National Infrastructure" part of its title, and the various authorities that go with it, to the Energy and Water Resources Ministry, headed my Minister Silvan Shalom.
Katz commented on the change on his Facebook page, writing, "I voted against the release of murderous terrorists as a precondition to resume the peace talks [with the Palestinian Authority], remember? I even argued with the prime minister about it. Well, now I'm being punished."
Katz noted further that he intends to continue opposing the release of Palestinian killers in any future debate.
Channel 10 quoted Katz as saying that regardless of the coming change he intends to "continue leading the infrastructure revolution in Israel, as I have done until now."
A source in the Prime Minister's Office said that "Katz was briefed about the coming change to the [ministry's] title over three weeks before the decision regarding the prisoners' release was made. He expressed his objections to it then, as well."
Government sources quoted by Channel 10 said a decision to increase or to diminish a ministry's authorities is usually the result of lengthy preparatory work by the ministries various professional experts. The news channel further quoted one of Katz' associates as saying that "this change was definitely meant to be a punishment. No [professional] discussion took place over the matter and the timing of this change cannot be a coincidence."