With Gilad Erdan firmly sworn into the government as Public Security Minister, Likud is preparing for the eventuality that Benny Begin will resign from his governmental role in keeping with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's pledge for a maximum of 20 ministers.
Coalition partners Kulanu and Shas have both expressed their opposition to increasing the cabinet beyond 20, leaving Minister without Portfolio Begin with the unenviable task of giving up his post.
Netanyahu, however, promised that should the veteran politician resign, he will make every effort to include him again later.
One possible option, Maariv reported Sunday, is to appoint close Netanyahu associate, Minister Ofir Akunis ambassador to the United Nations, freeing up a spot for Begin at the cabinet table.
The Prime Minister addressed the issue in a Facebook post on Friday, writing that he had pleaded – to no avail – with leaders of the coalition parties to keep Begin's place as minister in the government.
"Benny is an exemplary public servant. A man of values, much experience, and talent – one of the central components of Likud," Netanyahu stressed. "His contribution at the cabinet table is significant and positive, including the most sensitive forums of state security."
"There is not a shred of truth to the claim that Benn Begin said he would refuse to resign from the government," Netanyahu continued.
"There is no one with more values or morality than Begin. I will make every effort to include him later."