Meetings with Party Leaders Begin Sunday

Parties will begin meeting Sunday with President Reuven Rivlin to recommend their choice of Israel's next prime minister.

Cynthia Blank ,

Netanyahu and Rivlin
Netanyahu and Rivlin
Haim Zach, GPO

Representatives of the ten parties elected into the 20th Knesset will begin meeting Sunday with President Reuven Rivlin to recommend their preferred choice of candidate to form the next government. 

Meetings with different chairmen will take place one at a time, Channel Two reported. Binymain Netanyahu is expected to gain the majority of support and be tasked with building a coalition. 

Rivlin will meet at 10 a.m. with Likud - the upcoming Knesset's largest political force. An hour later the President will meet with Labor-Hatnua. 

Meetings will continue with the Joint Arab List at 12 p.m. and Jewish Home at 2 p.m. Rivlin will also meet with representatives of Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) later on Sunday. 

All remaining factions - Yesh Atid, Kulanu, Meretz, and Yisrael Beytenu - will visit the President's Residence for meetings on Monday. 

As parties recommend their preferred prime minister, a behind the scenes battle for top ministerial positions still rages. 

The defense and foreign affairs portfolios are most at stake with both top Likud politicians and various party chairmen looking to grab them.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett have both expressed interest in the defense portfolio, but Likud officials argue that Netanyahu has no business giving the post to two men who openly spoke out against him during Operation Protective Edge. 

It appears likely that Netanyahu will give the position to incumbent Moshe Ya'alon, and allow Liberman to continue as Foreign Minister.

Moshe Kahlon, meanwhile, is expected to be given the finance portfolio, but will surely have other demands. UTJ officials also desire a place in the Finance Committee. 

Shas will likely receive the interior portfolio, as Jewish Home, despite its drop in power, hopes for a more senior portfolio than the economy portfolio, which Bennett held during the last government. 




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