(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's no. 2 in Likud, MK Gilad Erdan, will enter the cabinet next week, sources in Likud said Thursday.
Erdan will receive a bolstered Public Security portfolio. Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who was given the Public Security Ministry as well at the last moment, was told by officials in the Prime Minister's Office to prepare to give up the portfolio and concentrate on tourism.
Decisions will also be made next week on who will chair the three Knesset committees controlled by Likud: Immigrant Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, Interior and Environment, and the Knesset House Committee. Several new MKs in Likud are fighting for the committee chairmanships.
There will also be a battle in the Zionist Union over the chairmanship of the Knesset Economics Committee between MKs Eitan Cabel and Shelly Yacimovich and the chairmanship of the faction between MKs Hilik Bar and Merav Michaeli.
After meeting with Zionist Union head Isaac Herzog Wednesday and Joint List head Ayman Odeh Thursday, Netanyahu will meet next Monday with another opposition party head: Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.
It will be the first meeting between the two men since Netanyahu fired Lapid from his post as finance minister on December 1. Lapid said he would not agree to discuss joining Netanyahu's government.
Meanwhile, Likud comptroller Shai Galili released a report Thursday condemning Netanyahu for not following proper procedures in getting the party to pay the salary of his top aide, Nir Hefetz. The report said Hefetz was being paid NIS 30,000 a month.
Likud MK David Amsalem went to an internal Likud court Wednesday to demand that the party's central committee meet soon to vote on changing how the party elects its MKs. The list is currently selected in party primaries open to all Likud members.
Amsalem wants the Likud central committee to choose the list instead. Netanyahu wants to maintain the status quo.
The head of the central committee, Science, Technology, and Space Minister Danny Danon, said the most likely scenario was a compromise in which national slots on the list continue to be elected by the full party membership and regional slots by the central committee and branch council members.
The central committee is expected to meet on June 11 or 14.
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