With coalition negotiations in full swing, the Israel Hayom newspaper reports that Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to have his close friend Ron Dermer appointed to the position of Foreign Minister.
Dermer is a former Israeli ambassador to the United States and is widely considered to be Netanyahu's closest confidant. Following Netanyahu's victory in Israel's latest national elections, he offered Dermer the position of head of the National Security Council; however, Dermer declined the offer, apparently due to family reasons as the position has an exceptionally high workload.
Following this, those close to Netanyahu decided to offer Dermer a ministerial portfolio, either Minister of Strategic Affairs, Minister for Regional Cooperation, or a newly created position that would enable Dermer to take a leading role in forming Israel's foreign policy. However, after reconsidering the number of portfolios available to the Likud party, Netanyahu is reportedly inclining to the idea of offering the Foreign Ministry portfolio to Dermer, which would prevent a potential leadership rival from taking such a senior position in the new government.
A diplomatic source told Israel Hayom that Dermer is "Netanyahu's twin" -- not only do the two have similar political views, but they also have a similar style of operation. "Dermer is an absolute workhorse; he gets through mounds of work, holds numerous meetings, and hammers his views through, just like Netanyahu," he said.
In the past, Netanyahu has retained the Foreign Ministry portfolio for himself, but during his coming term of office this appears unlikely due to the fact that he is still in the midst of a corruption trial. As such, handing the portfolio to such a close associate is the nearest he can approach to keeping it in his own hands and preventing a future leadership rival from conducting an independent foreign policy which could infringe on his own diplomatic vision and possibly minimize his own foreign policy achievements from recent years.