Benny Gantz
Benny GantzMichael Giladi/Flash90

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz (National Unity) may not be an outgoing minister after all, Maariv reported.

According to the report, sources involved in the coalition negotiations have said that in recent days, there has been an initiative to offer Gantz to join the coalition and remain in the Defense Ministry, thus "balancing" the right-wing government and removing the Defense Ministry from the negotiating table.

According to Maariv, the initiative is put forth by those close to Gantz and those close to Shas chairman Aryeh Deri.

Such a move would block Religious Zionism's MK Bezalel Smotrich from being able to continue demanding either the Defense Ministry or the Finance Ministry - and render his party unnecessary to the formation of a government.

Thus far, the idea has not met with the approval of Gantz himself, Maariv added.

Meanwhile, both Smotrich and Deri have expressed interest in the Finance Ministry, as has Likud's MK Yisrael Katz.

Maariv reported that the Likud is weighing offering Smotrich the Interior Ministry, so as to keep the Defense Ministry within the Likud, likely for either MK Yoav Galant or MK Avi Dichter. It is not yet clear whether Smotrich himself would agree to this offer.