The three ministers, Yisrael Katz, Miri Regev, Gilad Erdan.
(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
No one in the Likud is willing to openly compete with Netanyahu, but there are many contenders for the throne once the Netanyahu era comes to a close. While current Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar leads in the polls on this topic, there are current ministers whose jobs draw a lot of attention and who hope to be the next party leader.
Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.
The police, Erdan’s main area of responsibility, have been at the crux of many major events this year, from the Arab violence at the Temple Mount to questions of whether and how protests can be limited in a democracy in light of the weekly rallies in front of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s home. Erdan has an extremely high media profile because of his role as Public Security Minister, and over the years has become known as an eloquent, yet fiery, defender of government policies on various television and radio shows. Erdan’s other role as Strategic Affairs Minister has a lower profile. He has focused mostly on combating boycotts of Israel, but quickly learned that it’s something best done behind the scenes. Still, he has made connections with Diaspora Jewry in fighting the fight, which should help him politically in the future.Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz.
Katz has positioned himself as a Likud leadership contender who is mentioned in any post-Netanyahu analysis. He’s been very popular and effective as Transportation Minister, with new highways and interchanges going up regularly, as well as new train stations in the periphery, and the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv express train is expected to be unveiled next year. All of this has given Katz a reputation as a “bulldozer,” an Israeli expression meaning he gets things done. Katz’s intelligence portfolio is not a very public one, but he still makes sure to bring up his idea to create a seaport island off the coast of Gaza regularly in the media and to international visitors.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev.
Regev is a bit of a dark-horse candidate for future Likud leader, but no one should underestimate her. Regev is beloved by the Likud grassroots, who find her bluntness endearing and culture-warrior positions empowering. When she took to the Cannes red carpet in a Jerusalem-themed dress right after UNESCO omitted the Jewish connection to the capital from a resolution, the mainstream media may have jeered, but the Right cheered for how she stood up for Israel – and with panache. Theater actors may panic at her shifting culture funds to the periphery and refusing to pay for plays that glorify terrorists, but Likud voters are more likely to say “about time.” What the Attorney-General says, of course, is another matter, since he has blocked Regev’s most controversial proposals more than once.