Interior Minister Gilad Erdan
Interior Minister Gilad ErdanYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Gilad Erdan, a popular Likud MK who was Interior Minister and number two in Likud's Knesset list after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, officially left the Interior Ministry Sunday, and turned it over to Minister Silvan Shalom, also of Likud.

In recent days, Netanyahu offered Erdan the Ministry of Internal Security. Erdan wanted to stay at the helm of the Interior Ministry and also be named Minister of Internal Security. Netanyahu refused to grant him his wish, however, and Erdan refused to be sworn in as Internal Security Minister, electing to go back to being a simple Knesset Member for the time being.

In the course of the ceremony at the Interior Ministry, Erdan said he is considering his next steps. “It's no secret that I wanted to stay in the Ministry of Interior,” he said. “I proposed a unification with the Internal Security Ministry. In both ministries, there are huge challenges. I thought that in the local authorities, along with the emergency organizations and the police, it would be proper for them to be under on ministry, and we could properly deal with matters of emergency, personal nuisance and other offenses.

“Regrettably,” he added, “my position was not accepted and therefore, in the coming days, I will have to consider my future path in public service, between the Knesset and the government.”

Erdan summed up his achievements at the Interior Ministry and enumerated the challenges facing the ministry – including the struggle against illegal infiltrators and simplification of the process of collection of municipal tax, known as arnona. “We hear the cry of the Israeli citizens regarding the high cost of arnona,” he stated.

He'll be back?

MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) estimated on Channel 2's Meet the Press Saturday that Erdan will join the government within “a few days or weeks.”

Absorption Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), also called on Erdan at week's end to take back his refusal to join the government.

"We exchanged words at the plenum but there was no real, long conversation [about it]," Elkin stated Friday morning to Army Radio. "I am very upset that Gilad is currently staying outside the government and call on him to join it."

Elkin stressed Erdan's very high position in Likud and stated that he should be a minister.

"There's no reason he would not be in this government," he said. "Ultimately I believe that Gilad can and must find his place in the government."

Erdan explained on Facebook Friday why he had decided not to join the government as Internal Security Minister. The reason, he said, was “principles."

He said that from a young age he dreamed of serving the public. "I had hoped to continue to serve you well in this government, but, unfortunately, the proposal offered me the prime minister did not give me the necessary tools to lead the real change we need in the Ministry of Public Security and the police," he said. "In these circumstances I could not take on this role."