The Race for Ministerial Positions Begins

Fight for defense and foreign portfolios are the big draws, but Likud candidates are all eager to grab ministerial positions for themselves.

Hezki Baruch, Cynthia Blank ,

Likud celebrates
Likud celebrates
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

As it becomes readily apparent that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be the one to form the next government, Likud officials have already begun fighting for ministerial positions in the 20th Knesset. 

Maariv reported Thursday morning that Netanyahu might offer the position of justice minister, formerly held by Tzipi Livni, to Likud candidate Benny Begin. 

Begin, the song of former Likud prime minister Menachem Begin, is a veteran Likud MK. While he was absent from the previous government, he returned to the Likud's list in 2015 after being offered the reserved 11th spot by Netanyahu. 

Rumors have also flown through Likud that Kulanu Chairman and former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon will receive the finance portfolio as promised by Netanyahu several days before elections. 

Current Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon is likely to keep his position, although he faces some competition from Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett as well as Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman. 

Liberman, currently serving as Foreign Minister, announced on Monday that he will demand the defense portfolio as condition of joining a government. 

If he doesn't receive the defense portfolio, it is likely Liberman will instead seek to keep the foreign affairs portfolio. Also competing for that position are senior Likud ministers Gilad Erdan and Yuval Steinitz.

Erdan, Israel's Interior Minister, is likely vying for the position to make up for turning down the chance in 2011 become the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. 

Also demanding a position for her party is Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked. In an interview Thursday, Shaked said Netanyahu "owed" the religious Zionist sector and as such should give them the public security portfolio.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz was mentioned before the elections as a potential candidate for finance minister, but since Netanyahu has promised that position to Kahlon, it is likely Katz will receive another economic portfolio. 

Miri Regev, meanwhile, has already stated her intention to be appointed to a social or economic position, such as housing minister. 

According to assessments from Likud, it is unlikely Netanyahu will prevent Yuli Edelstein from continuing on as Knesset speaker. 



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