The title of international affairs minister that the Likud’s Yuval Steinitz
received could be a stepping stone to the Foreign Ministry, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu reassured Steinitz this week, Likud sources revealed
exclusively to The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.
The sources said that at a
marathon meeting with Netanyahu on Sunday, in which Steinitz let Silvan Shalom
have the Energy and Water Ministry, Steinitz raised the issue of what would
happen if Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman is
Currently, Netanyahu is holding the Foreign Affairs portfolio
for Liberman, hoping he will be cleared of corruption charges. A verdict in the
Liberman case is expected as early as July.
If Liberman is convicted,
multiple Likud ministers will seek the Foreign Ministry, including Steinitz,
Gideon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan, and Shalom, who held the post under former prime
minister Ariel Sharon. But Likud sources said Netanyahu’s mind was made up, and
he made clear to Steinitz that the job would be his.
Liberman did not
permit Netanyahu to appoint another minister in the Foreign Ministry during his
absence and insisted that MK Ze’ev Elkin be appointed deputy foreign minister,
even though he does not speak English.
While Netanyahu holds the Foreign
Affairs portfolio, Steinitz will meet most visiting dignitaries, including the
foreign minister of Norway.
“Yuval is basically acting foreign minister,
so receiving the post would be a natural shift,” a source close to him said. “He
is respected around the world, and he has the skills and the English for the
Steinitz will also be in charge of the strategic dialogue with the
United States, which was initially going to be given to Homefront Security
Minister Gilad Erdan. Netanyahu asked Erdan to let Steinitz have that role,
after Steinitz agreed to give Shalom the Energy and Water
Shalom denied reports that he met with Netanyahu for hours on
Sunday in an effort to extort a better portfolio for himself. He said he just
spoke to the prime minister over lunch and then worked with his staff at a side
room in Netanyahu’s office until the prime minister’s meeting with Steinitz
ended several hours later.
A former director-general of the Israel
Electric Corporation, Shalom said he was happy to be in charge of the country’s
energy and water and to have influence on other key issues.
sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University found
that a majority of Jewish Israelis (56%) believe that Yair Lapid is not suited
to be finance minister, while 33% think he is. Even among Yesh Atid voters, 50%
believe he is not suited while 42% think he is.
Jewish Israelis are
closely divided on Tzipi Livni’s suitability to coordinate negotiations with the
Palestinians, with 46% seeing her as suitable and 50% seeing her as not. Nearly
all Hatnua voters (95%) see her as suitable for this role.
two-thirds (69%) of Jewish Israelis supported a coalition with Yesh Atid and
Bayit Yehudi, while the ultra-Orthodox parties remain outside; a minority (28%)
This survey, conducted from March 11-14, 2012, included 600
respondents who constitute a representative sample of the adult population of
Israel. The measurement error for a sample of this size is 4.5%.