The composition of Israel’s new government has left Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with slim ministerial pickings for the members of his own Likud party - and they are not happy about it.
Most of the ministerial positions that have been given to the Likud have yet to be divided amongst its MKs, but there were already voices in the party criticizing Netanyahu Wednesday night, after he conceded the Education Ministry to Yesh Atid - one of many concessions to the Knesset’s second largest party - in order to get it to join his coalition.
“Bibi sold out the Likud to remain prime minister,” said a senior official in the party on Wednesday night, accusing Netanyahu of bending over backwards to appease Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman.
“Lieberman was able to bend the prime minister and arrange for significant positions for all those in the top spots of his list,” the official said. “The Likud ministers are silent now because they are afraid of what their status will be until the ministers are sworn in, but it should be clear: Other than Moshe Yaalon and Yisrael Katz, who received what they wanted, all the others have a sense of failure, for which Bibi is responsible and it will erupt soon.”
Some of the Likud Beytenu’s ministers have already been named, and with the exception of Katz (Transportation) and Yaalon (Defense), they are all from Lieberman’s party: Yair Shamir will be Agriculture Minister, Yitzchak Aharonovitch will be Minister of Internal Security, Sofa Landver will be Immigration Absorption Minister, and Uzi Landau will be appointed as Tourism Minister.
The Likud has been left with the Interior Ministry, which MKs Gideon Saar and Gilad Erdan will have to “fight over”, as well as with the Communications, Infrastructure, Strategic Affairs and Home Front Defense Ministries.
Israeli media has predicted over the past few days that Likud MKs will “rise up” against Netanyahu, since he capitulated to Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid on many of his demands, leaving less desired ministries for the Likud.
Netanyahu will have a problem assigning the ministries to his party’s members, since the demand is greater than the supply. He will have to promote some of the Likud’s younger MKs, such as Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely who ranked high in the party’s primaries, but will also have to consider some of the party’s long-serving MKs such as Limor Livnat and Silvan Shalom.