Netanyahu Government Shapes Up as Likud MKs Scramble for Posts

Just an hour and a half before the deadline, Prime Minister Binyamin was finally able to form a government on Wednesday night.

While many positions in the next government were filled during coalition talks, there are still a number of coveted portfolios up for grabs among Likud MKs.

However, according to Walla! News, analysts estimate that Netanyahu will refrain, for at least several days, from announcing which of his party members will receive ministerial posts, to avoid internal conflict within Likud.

Meanwhile, the rest of the government looks as follows:

  • Jewish Home: Chairman Naftali Bennett will be appointed Education Minister, while MKs Uri Ariel and Ayelet Shaked will be named Agricultural Minister and Justice Minister, respectively. Aril will also control the Settlement Division and hold responsibility for implementing a program regulating Bedouins in the Negev. In addition, the party will choose a candidate for deputy defense minister.
  • Kulanu: Party chairman Moshe Kahlon will serve as Finance Minister as well as chairman of the Housing Cabinet. MK Yoav Galant will be appointed Housing Minister, while a third person, apparently Kahlon associate Avi Gabbay, will be appointed Environment Minister. 
  • Shas: Chairman Aryeh Deri will serve as Economy Minister, Negev and Galilee Development Minister, and possibly also Religious Affairs Minister, although this post may be given to another member of the party. In addition, Deri will appoint MK Yitzhak Cohen to head the Planning Administration within the Finance Ministry. Under Shas' agreement with Likud, which is subject to certain changes, Cohen may end up taking the post of Deputy Finance Minister. 
  • United Torah Judaism: MK Yaakov Litzman will serve as Deputy Health Minister, while MK Moshe Gafni will chair the Knesset's Finance Committee. 

Ten additional portfolios are expected to go to members of the ruling party, but as of now, most remain under a veil of secrecy. 

Both Moshe Ya'alon and Yisrael Katz are expected to maintain their roles as Defense Minister and Transportation Minister, respectively, while ministers Silvan Shalom, Gilad Erdan, and Yuval Steinitz are also expected to keep their titles, albeit possibly in different fields.

Shalom, Erdan, Steinitz as well as Deputy Foreign Minister Tzahi Hanegbi have all pounced on the open foreign affairs portfolio, but should Netanyahu refuse to give it up, the energy and water, interior, and public security portfolios likely await the first three. 

Meanwhile, former minister Benny Begin, has been mentioned several times as a potential candidate for the intelligence portfolio. Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis has also been named as a candidate for the communications portfolio, but neither of these appointments are certain.

Another struggle within Likud is for the welfare portfolio, which MKs Miri Regev, Danny Danon, and Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely have all expressed interest in.

In addition to MK Gila Gamliel, who has a promise for a governmental post, MKs Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin, who are close to Netanyahu and ran Likud's coalition negotiations, are also likely to receive roles in the next government. Levin's name has so far come up in connection with the tourism portfolio as well as the culture and sport portfolio. 

The absorption portfolio will also remain with Likud; MK Avraham Nagosa mentioned a desire for it earlier this week, although chances of the new parliamentarian getting a ministerial role over a veteran seem slim. 

Finally, Netanyahu's new Security Cabinet will consist of, in addition to the Prime Minister – Ya'alon, Bennett, Shaked, Deri, Kahlon, and five other undetermined ministers from Likud. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195107

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