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Smotrich said to be top candidate for defense or finance minister

Head of the Religious Zionist party Bezalel Smotrich at the party's campaign headquarters after election day, November 1, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Head of the Religious Zionist party Bezalel Smotrich at the party's campaign headquarters after election day, November 1, 2022. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich is a leading candidate for the position of either defense or finance minister, according to Channel 12.

If not Smotrich, Netanyahu will likely pick another candidate within Likud for the finance portfolio, the TV network says. Likud MK Nir Barkat has expressed interest in the job in the past and was promised it by Likud chair Benjamin Netanyahu only to ultimately be passed over.

Smotrich’s preferred position, however, is said to be defense minister. Netanyahu is seen as more likely however to give that job to Likud MK Yoav Gallant and instead have Smotrich take over the Finance Ministry, the Kan public broadcaster says.

As for the position of foreign minister, Channel 12 says it will likely be a competition between Likud MKs Yariv Levin and Israel Katz — who held the post briefly in the past.

Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir is a leading candidate to serve as public security minister, a job he has publicly demanded, United Torah Judaism chairman Yitzchak Goldknopf is likely to be named housing minister and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri — who was forced out of the Knesset briefly earlier this year following yet another criminal conviction — is expected to return to the Interior Ministry.

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