A senior Likud official on Monday told Haaretz that Gilad Erdan will probably be appointed minister of public security, strategic affairs and public diplomacy. Erdan, the official said, was conducting a positive dialogue with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is likely to be appointed already on Monday.
If the move is carried out, it is liable to open a new front within Likud between Netanyahu and Minister Zeev Elkin, who at present holds the strategic affairs portfolio in addition to that of absorption minister. When asked of the possibility that the portfolio will be taken from him, Elkin threatened that he would not attend a Knesset vote scheduled for Monday evening on postponing the approval of the 2015 budget.
“How would you expect a minister to react when he is being fired? I’ll react as a minister who gets fired,” Elkin told Haaretz.
Sources in Likud believe that Netanyahu will have to compensate Elkin for undermining his authority. The sources added that Minister Benny Begin is liable to pay with his cabinet seat as a result of the move, and leave the government in order to avoid breaching the framework of 12 Likud ministers promised by Netanyahu. The prime minister, however, does not face any legal restriction against appointing a larger number of ministers, since two weeks ago the coalition changed the Basic Law on the Government, which limited the number of ministers to 18.
Since the swearing-in of the government two weeks ago, Netanyahu has continued in his efforts to bring Erdan into the government after the latter refused to accept the Public Security Ministry. Netanyahu adhered to his refusal to appoint the no. 2 person on the Likud slate to head the Foreign Ministry, but promised to channel an additional hundreds of millions of shekels to the Internal Security Ministry, in addition to giving Erdan the Strategic Affairs Ministry.