Minister Matan Vilnai
Minister Matan Vilnai Israel news photo: Flash 90

With war expected in October, the post of Minister of Home Front Defense is vacant, but there are no takers.

The current Home Front Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai, is leaving in order to become Israel's ambassador to China. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked for a special session of the Knesset to be held Thursday for appointing Vilnai's replacement, but the identity of the appointee is still not known. This is a rare circumstance in Israeli politics.

It turns out that none of the ministers who are seen as natural candidates for the job is interested in taking it. The two leading candidates are Ministers Dan Meridor and Moshe Ya'alon. However, they are not interested in the job. Minister Yossi Peled was another favored candidate but he is about to leave the government and head the company in charge of the Eilat-Ashkelon Oil Pipeline.

Former minister Tzachi HaNegbi was mentioned as a candidate, but he said Wednesday that he has not been offered the job.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has estimated that up to 500 people will be killed in an Iranian missile attack if Israel attacks Iran. Such an attack by Israel appears increasingly likely to occur in September or October. It seems no one wants to be saddled with the public responsibility for this eventuality, when he will only have a few weeks to settle into the job before war is expected to break out.