Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering giving away the foreign ministry portfolio, possibly to a member of the Likud Party.
The position has reportedly become vacant after Netanyahu refused to give the defense minister portfolio to Education Minister Naftali Bennett as well as Bayit Yehudi MK Eli Ben-Dahan, the former deputy defense minister.
The defense minister portfolio was thought to be up for grabs after former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned
, following Netanyahu's decision to call for a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza during one of the heaviest barrage of rockets Israel underwent from Gaza.
Instead, Netanyahu reportedly decided to claim the defense minister position for himself and find a new foreign minister, a position that Netanyahu currently holds. This is seen as Netanyahu's latest gambit to maintain a strong right-wing government and avoid elections.
Thus speculation begins over who might the prime minister choose for this newly vacant portfolio.
Who are the candidates?
Netanyahu has reportedly given a verbal commitment to Katz that the prime mMinister would make him the most senior minister in the Likud. If Netanyahu gives away the foreign ministry, Katz could be one of the top candidates.
Israel Katz is currently the Transportation and Intelligence Minister. Gilad Erdan
Erdan apparently received a written commitment from Netanyahu that he would receive the foreign portfolio if and when the prime minister decides to give it away.
Gilad Erdan is currently the Strategic Affairs Minister. Yuval Steinitz
Leading candidate for Jewish Agency chairmanship, Steinitz has been a longtime Netanyahu loyalist and could be the compromise candidate. Giving the portfolio to Steinitz would not create as big a rift within the Likud as would happen if Netanyahu appointed either Katz or Erdan.
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