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Lapid Will be Israel's Next Finance Minister

Coalition talks almost done: Lapid will likely be Finance Minister and Bennett will be Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 3/8/2013, 8:39 PM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Hezki Ezra

Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid will likely be Israel’s next Finance Minister, it was reported on Friday, after a meeting between Lapid and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was described by the sides as “good”.

The reports in Israel’s media outlets also indicated that Bayit Yehudi chairman MK Naftali Bennett will be appointed as Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor. MK Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) will be Defense Minister, according to the reports.

Bayit Yehudi will also receive the Housing Ministry, with MK Uri Ariel to be appointed to that position. The party will receive two additional portfolios which will be held by MKs Uri Orbach and Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan. A final decision on which ministries is yet to be made.

Yesh Atid will receive two additional ministerial portfolios, most likely the Interior and Welfare Ministries, to be held by MKs Yael German and Rabbi Shai Piron, respectively. Reports Thursday indicated that it would be Lapid himself who will be appointed as Interior Minister.

Two of the Likud’s current ministers, the reports indicated, will maintain their positions: Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. Yisrael Beytenu’s Yitzchak Aharonovitch and Sofa Landver will keep their positions as Internal Security Minister and Minister of Immigration Absorption.

Lapid had previously demanded to be appointed to the position of Foreign Minister, causing problems for Netanyahu, who intended on saving that portfolio for Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman until the end of his trial. Lapid has now agreed to give up on this demand, and Lieberman will indeed be appointed as Foreign Minister once his trial ends, assuming it is without conviction.

A compromise has also been reached on Lapid’s demand that the number of ministers in the Cabinet be reduced in order to save costs. The new Cabinet will include 23 ministers, more than the 18 Lapid had demanded, but less than the Likud’s demand of 25 or more.

Members of the Likud expressed satisfaction over the results of the talks with Lapid, telling Channel 10 News, “He'll get to appear like a winner as he wanted, and we managed to keep the Foreign Ministry, as was promised to Lieberman.”

“We agreed to his demand to reduce the number of ministers and took out the hareidi parties," stressed the Likud officials. "He also understands he will have to compromise on the Foreign Ministry."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)