The reason, according to the Likud, is his role as the prime minister's envoy for Palestinian negotiations. However, sources within the Likud expressed puzzlement regarding this explanation, noting that no such negotiations have taken place during the last four years.
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The decision was reached mutually by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Molcho, as it was decided that Molcho would continue in his role as the prime minister's envoy in Palestinian negotiations.
This position was elaborated and clarified by a Likud spokesperson that said in response that a legal opinion by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein bared Molcho him from serving in both roles at the same time.
A source within the ruling party's negotiation team confirmed for Ynet that the reason for Molcho's departure stemmed from a legal fear of conflict of interest between his political role in coalition negotiation team and his role as representative of the state and the prime minister in diplomatic matters.
However, a source within the Likud noted that this line of reasoning was puzzling, as the decision to appoint Molcho to the team has already been known for a week and his role as envoy to the Palestinian has been known even longer.
Budget, burden, diplomatic process
At the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting, the prime minister reiterated his intention to form a "wide unity government that would unify the nation."
He elaborated his position, stating his three main goals for the first year of his third term as prime minister:
"To pass a responsible budget that would adequately deal with the cost of living, to bring about a meaningful change in the equal share of the burden without ripping the nation into two, and to initiate a responsible and sensible diplomatic process."
The Likud-Beiteinu's negotiation team met with representatives of the second largest party, Yesh Atid, and was to later meet representatives from the additional parties.
Yuval Karni is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent
Shiri Hadar and Omri Efraim contributed to this report
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