Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein the post of foreign minister earlier this year, but the latter refused.
A senior source confirmed a report by Makor Rishon’s Ze’ev Kam on Friday, saying that the offer was made four to five months ago.
Netanyahu currently holds the Foreign Affairs portfolio, along with the Economics, Communications and Regional Cooperation ministries.
Edelstein has emphasized the Knesset’s relations with other parliaments and international organizations in his tenure as speaker. Before that, he served as public diplomacy minister.
He speaks fluent English, as well as Hebrew and Russian, his first language.
He came in second place in the Likud primary.
A planned cabinet reshuffle is currently stuck. Two Likud power players, Welfare Minister Haim Katz and Jerusalem Minister Ze’ev Elkin, are teaming up to block it, and tensions are simmering within Kulanu about who should get which portfolios.
Netanyahu wants to give Elkin the Environmental Protection portfolio, and the labor portion of the Economy Ministry to Katz, reviving the former Welfare and Labor Ministry, while finding ways to promote Minister- without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi and Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara.
Elkin, however, wants both the Jerusalem and the Environmental Protection Ministries, and Katz will not accept his part of the deal if Elkin has to relinquish Jerusalem affairs to Hanegbi. The duo have threatened to use Likud institutions to hurt Netanyahu politically if Elkin has to give up the ministry.
Meanwhile, Kara seeks to be promoted to regional cooperation minister.
In Kulanu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wants to move Housing and Construction Minister Galant to what’s left of the Economy Ministry and give the Construction and Housing portfolio to MK Eli Cohen or another loyalist, but Galant wants to remain where he is.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.