(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan is seriously considering an offer from Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to become Israel’s next ambassador to the United Nations, Channel 2 reported Monday.
The report said that current ambassador Ron Prosor had shortened his tenure and would leave in three months, and that Liberman had made the offer with the blessing of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
If Erdan accepts the post, he would be replaced in the Knesset by the next name on the joint Likud Beytenu list, former MK Leon Litinetsky.
That would leave Likud with only 18 seats, one less than Yesh Atid, and bring Yisrael Beytenu up to 13, one more than Bayit Yehudi.
Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir had offered to resign from the Knesset in order to enable Litinetsky to enter.
But Liberman blocked the move in hopes of building the Yisrael Beytenu faction at Likud’s expense.
Prosor has been mentioned as a possible future Knesset candidate on a list being formed by former social welfare services minister Moshe Kahlon.
The new party Kahlon is forming could take support away from Likud and Bayit Yehudi. Kahlon, who used to head the Likud central committee, has the backing of key former Likud activists.
Netanyahu met Monday at his official Jerusalem residence with Likud branch heads in an effort to shore up his political base. The Likud central committee is set to meet in rocket-stricken Ashkelon on September 15, a night when Netanyahu already had a pre-Rosh Hashana toast scheduled in Petah Tikva.
A source close to Netanyahu accused the head of the central committee, MK Danny Danon, of purposely calling the meeting in order to harm Netanyahu’s event.
They said he was seeking revenge against Netanyahu for firing him.
Meanwhile, tension in Bayit Yehudi heated up Monday ahead of Wednesday’s party convention. Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel sent Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett a letter Monday night protesting the convention.
Bennett intends to pass a new constitution for Bayit Yehudi at the event.
Ariel complained about a report that Bennett had said he would merge Bayit Yehudi with Ariel’s Tekuma party after passing the constitution.
“That would not be friendly and would certainly not show a desire for unity,” Ariel wrote.
Bayit Yehudi MK Yoni Chetboun called upon Bennett not to pass the constitution, calling it “a dangerous step” that was “tearing the party apart.”