(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Likud MK Gilad Erdan for three hours at his official residence in Jerusalem on Monday, and spoke with him repeatedly since then, in an effort to bring him into the government as soon as possible, a Likud spokesman said Wednesday.
The Netanyahu government’s 20 ministers came to the President’s Residence to take a ceremonial photograph on Tuesday. But the prime minister’s cabinet will be finalized only with the joining of Erdan, who is Netanyahu’s No. 2 in the Likud.
“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.”
Erdan asked for the Foreign Ministry, but instead has been offered only a bolstered Public Security portfolio, the Strategic Affairs Ministry, membership in the security cabinet, and a ceremonial title such as deputy prime minister.
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.
“I am not aware of them taking anything away from me,” Elkin said.
Channel 1 reported that one gesture Netanyahu was mulling making to Herzog to get him to join the coalition is to restore his former responsibility over the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
Because the Likud already has the 12 ministers it was allocated in the coalition agreement, either the other parties in the coalition would have to agree to another minister being added, or minister-without- portfolio Bennie Begin or another Likud minister would have to quit.
When asked how the problem will be solved, a source close to Netanyahu said, “Don’t worry. It will all work out.”
A group of Likud MKs circulated a petition in the Likud faction calling upon Netanyahu to make more of an effort to bring Erdan into the cabinet.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>