While coalition negotiations have yet to begin in earnest, Avigdor Liberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, is still insisting on the defense portfolio, even though Likud sources dismissed the notion yesterday.
Likud Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a lackluster former IDF chief of staff with the charisma of a bank clerk, is nevertheless highly popular among the security establishment.
Liberman has no military experience (the only precedent for this being Labor’s Amir Peretz, who served as defense minister in the Olmert government), while Yoav Galant, No. 2 in Kulanu, is not on very good terms with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.
Netanyahu would be very happy to leave Ya’alon in office; with the finance portfolio already etched with Moshe Kahlon’s name and Jewish Home’s Naftali Bennett sure to seek a more juicy portfolio than economy (maybe foreign ministry?), it is unclear what portfolio awaits Liberman.
In the Foreign Ministry, Liberman was persona non grata in many Western countries, instead working to strengthen his ties with countries in eastern Europe and southeast Asia.