Next Foreign Minister: Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is anticipated to keep the Foreign Ministry for himself, as pressure for posts is reaching a peak in his Likud party ahead of the swearing in of the new coalition government next Wednesday.

Yedioth Aharonoth reports that Netanyahu's move on the foreign portfolio is an attempt to ensure stability and control in the narrow 61 MK government, the smallest number possible for a majority coalition.

Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beytenu had been promised to continue as foreign minister before he announced he would not join the coalition.

The decision on the Foreign Ministry has not been announced yet, as Netanyahu has kept his decisions on ministerial allotments secret reportedly in order to pressure Likud MKs to vote on Monday to cancel the law limiting the maximal number of ministers to 18, a law passed by Yair Lapid. Some ministers are only to be able to enter their posts after the law is changed.

Despite Netanyahu's secrecy, some Likud appointments are already known.

Minister Yisrael Katz is to continue as transportation minister, and Moshe Ya'alon is to remain defense minister.

But other senior Likud MKs are said to be threatening Netanyahu to receive meaningful spots, including Gilad Erdan, Benny Begin, Yuval Steinitz and Silvan Shalom.

Erdan hopes to be public security minister and to receive a spot on the Security Cabinet, as well as to retain his spot at the Interior Ministry with limited authorities not including the construction and planning administration that has been moved to Kulanu chairperson Moshe Kahlon's Finance Ministry.

Despite being a senior confidant of Netanyahu, current Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz is not expected to receive an improved position, and neither is Negev and Galilee Minister Silvan Shalom, given that there are no more senior positions available than the ones they currently hold.

Shalom threatened not to support the bill expanding the number of ministries on Monday unless he is appointed foreign minister, saying if he doesn't receive it "I'm out," possibly indicating he will not support either the bill or the government.

And then there are other senior Likud MKs looking for a prominent post, including MK Miri Regev who was in the top five in Likud primaries, as well as Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin, who led coalition negotiations for Netanyahu.

The posts possibly available for the three include the Welfare Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Communications Ministry, and Culture and Sport Ministry.

Others MKs expecting a ministerial or deputy ministerial post include Gila Gamliel, who was promised to become a minister in the current term, and former Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, despite his spat with Netanyahu during last summer's war, as well as Haim Katz, Ofir Akunis, Tzahi Hanegbi and Tzipi Hotovely whose name was raised in connection with the Science Ministry.

Ayoub Kara became the first Likud MK to openly threaten Netanyahu, saying on Thursday he will not to show up for the swearing-in of the new government if he is not appointed minister.

"No one is talking to me, I have not been invited to a meeting regarding the possibility that I will be appointed minister,” he complained. “I will want to know, in case Netanyahu does not appoint me, if this is because of personal motives. If the problem is personal, then I do not mind if someone else is appointed, but if he intends to ignore the Druze community, and not appoint anyone from the community or from the minorities as a minister in his government, that is a serious matter.”


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