Coalition Chairman and Head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Likud), was more than disappointed not to be named a minister in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's fourth government.
Speaking to Channel 2's Meet the Press on Saturday night, Hanegbi stressed that he really "hoped to become a minister."
But "sometimes difficulties require concessions," he continued. "If I thought only about myself I'd be raving, feeling miserable, and crying foul play. But because I care about the Prime Minister's success and Likud's success, I volunteered to work hard and suffer for a year."
A mini crisis within Likud broke out Thursday after Netanyahu announced his new government before the Knesset.
Netanyahu thanked Hanegbi for agreeing to become Coalition Chairman and Head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee – and not a minister. A stunned Hanegbi issued a statement in which he emphasized that this was never agreed between him and Netanyahu.
In an attempt to minimize damage, Likud responded with its own statement, clarifying that after Netanyahu thanked Hanegbi he informed him that he and Minister Ofir Akunis would switch roles after a year.
"Netanyahu asked me to do a year of service in the Knesset," Hanegbi explained to Channel 2. "He told me something understandable – that he had no one to be Coalition Chairman and Head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee."
As to the Likud's other major internal problem – Gilad Erdan's status – Hanegbi asserted that "it may take a few days, maybe a few weeks, but we will find Erdan a place in the government that is suitable for him."
During the interview, Hanegbi also called on Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman to return to the government and take back the foreign affairs portfolio.
"I'm sure he can continue to be an excellent foreign minister," Hanegbi said, adding that he finds it hard to believe the narrow 61-MK government will last its mandated term of four and a half years.
"Two or three years is possible, but only if we widen the government within two months," he suggested.
"I think most ministers, many more than who are unhappy, are satisfied. Likud received 12 out of 20 cabinet ministers. I don't recall anything like this and I've been in the Knesset since 1988.
"Seven new ministers have dreamed of this moment. I'd love to be be there, but I'm not. I expect Liberman to return," Hanegbi added.