(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to MK Gilad Erdan over the last few days in an effort to bring him into the government as soon as possible, a Likud spokesperson said on Wednesday.
He said that they still have not reached an agreement. Erdan has asked for the the Foreign Ministry but instead has been offered only a bolstered Public Security Ministry and the Strategic Affairs Ministry.
The prime minister sees Erdan as a senior partner and a leading minister who must be in his government because of his ability, his leadership and his achievements, a source close to Netanyahu said. "The prime minister will continue to work to reach an understanding with Erdan to bring him into the government."
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who was given the public security portfolio, temporarily, is willing to give it to Erdan and concentrate on tourism.
Immigration and Absorption Minister MK Ze'ev Elkin, who was given the strategic affairs portfolio, has not said whether he would give it up.
Because the Likud already has the 12 ministers it was allocated in the coalition agreement, either the other parties will have to agree to another minister being added, or minister without portfolio Bennie Begin would have to quit.