Who's Who in the New Government
With all the kinks finally worked out, the new government is set to be sworn in on Monday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will preside over a government of 22 ministers, including him. There will be eight deputy ministers as well. It will be the smallest government in decades, a major achievement for Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, which insisted that far fewer ministers be appointed as one of its conditions for entering the coalition. An official announcement on the government's makeup is expected on Thursday.
According to the coalition agreement, the Likud/Yisrael Beteinu will receive eight of those portfolios. Moshe Ya'alon will be Defense Minister. Yisrael Katz will remain on as Transport Minister. Gideon Sa'ar will move from the Education Ministry to the Interior Ministry. Gilad Erdan will be Minister of Communications, as well as Minister of Homefront Security. Limor Livnat will remain on as Minister of Culture and Sport. Yuval Steinitz will be Minister of Strategic Affirs. Silvan Shalom is likely to be Minister of Energy and Water, a “consolation prize” for the Prime Minister's decision not to support his bid for a second round as Chairman of the Knesset. That job is likely to go to Tzachi Hanegbi or Yuli Edelstein, Likud officials said.
Binyamin Netanyahu will name himself Foreign Minister, retaining the office for Avigdor Lieberman, pending the outcome of a corruption trial he faces.
Yesh Atid will receive five portfolios; Yair Lapid will be Finance Minister, Shai Piron will be Education Minister, Yael German will be Health Minister, Meir Cohen will be Welfare Minister, and Ya'akov Peri will be Science Minister. In addition, Ofer Shelach will be offered the role of Deputy Defense Minister. Yesh Atid will receive an additional deputy position in a ministry.
Bayit Yehudi will receive five portfolios. Naftali Bennett will be Minister of Economics and Commerce, the new name of the former Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry. Uri Ariel will be Minister of Housing, as well as Director of the Israel Lands Administration. Bennett will also be Religious Affairs Minister, as well as Minister for Diaspora and Jerusalem Affairs. Uri Orbach will be Minister for Elderly Affairs. Eli Ben Dahan will be Deputy Religious Affairs Minister. A Bayit Yehudi MK – either Nisan Slomiansky or Ayelet Shaked – will be Knesset Finance Committee chairperson.
In addition, the coalition agreement with Tzipi Livni's Hatnu'a will remain intact. Livni will be Justice Minister, while her number two, Amir Peretz, will be Environment Minister.