Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly intends to keep the top three ministerial posts in the hands of his party and Yisrael Beytenu, with which he has forged an alliance, should he win reelection in next month’s vote.
Netanyahu told a group of top ministers that he did not intend to use the defense, finance, and foreign ministerial posts as bargaining chips to build a coalition, instead reserving those spots for senior members of Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, reported Israel Hayom Friday.
According to the report, the Foreign Ministry would remain under Netanyahu’s stewardship until Yisrael Beytenu head, Avigdor Liberman, expected to be indicted in the coming days on fraud and breach-of-trust charges, is able to return to the post, should he be cleared to do so.
The Defense Ministry post, being vacated by a retiring Ehud Barak, would likely go to Likud member Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief who is currently minister of strategic affairs. It is also possible that Netanyahu would hold the post in name, while letting Yisrael Beytenu No. 2 Yair Shamir run the ministry from the deputy’s chair.
Yuval Steinitz, who currently runs the Finance Ministry, will have to battle current Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to stay in his post, according to the report.
The paper details that the alliance deal joining the Knesset slates of Likud and Yisrael Beytenu stipulates that the latter party get one of the three top ministries.
On Tuesday, Liberman said his party would control the Interior and Housing ministries in the next government, attacking the ultra-Orthodox Shas party for its stewardship of the portfolios. The two ministries are central in determining domestic policy, a core issue for the secularist Yisrael Beytenu faction.