Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Likud MK Gilad Erdan Wednesday in an effort to convince him to join the government.
Channel 2 and Army Radio reported that Netanyahu offered Erdan the Internal Security portfolio together with a sizable increase in the ministry's budget, as well as the Strategic Affairs Ministry.
In addition, Netanyahu offered Erdan the title of Vice Prime Minister.
Erdan has not yet replied to Netanyahu's offer.
Likud issued a statement according to which “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu contacted MK Erdan and is conducting talks with him, with the aim of adding him to the government as quickly as possible. The Prime Minister sees in Gilad Erdan a senior partner and leading minister, who must be in the government because of his abilities, accomplishments and leadership. The Prime Minister will continue to act in order to reach an understanding with Erdan about joining the government.”
Erdan, a popular Likud MK who was Interior Minister and number two in Likud's Knesset list after Netanyahu, officially left the Interior Ministry Sunday, and turned it over to Minister Silvan Shalom, also of Likud.
Netanyahu had offered Erdan the Ministry of Internal Security after the election, but Erdan was not content with the offer. He wanted to stay at the helm of the Interior Ministry and also be named Minister of Internal Security. Netanyahu refused to grant him his wish, and Erdan refused to be sworn in as Internal Security Minister, electing to go back to being a simple Knesset Member for the time being.
In the course of the ceremony at the Interior Ministry, Erdan said he is considering his next steps. “It's no secret that I wanted to stay in the Ministry of Interior,” he said. “I proposed a unification with the Internal Security Ministry. In both ministries, there are huge challenges. I thought that in the local authorities, along with the emergency organizations and the police, it would be proper for them to be under on ministry, and we could properly deal with matters of emergency, personal nuisance and other offenses.
“Regrettably,” he added, “my position was not accepted and therefore, in the coming days, I will have to consider my future path in public service, between the Knesset and the government.”