The sweepstakes over who will receive the most unwanted portfolio in the next Israeli government took an unexpected turn on Tuesday, when sources in Blue and White revealed that one candidate being considered is the respected director-general of Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Dr. Masad Barhoum. Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman announced two weeks ago that he was leaving his post to become construction and housing minister. Blue and White demanded the post, but after the party's number two, MK Gabi Ashkenazi, rejected it in favor of being foreign minister, no one in the party has expressed interest. Blue and White announced that if it receives the portfolio, it would make a professional appointment. After the Likud initially demanded the Foreign Ministry, sources in Blue and White said it would instead trade Likud two or three smaller portfolios for the Health Ministry, which could help solve the shortage of portfolios in Likud. Likud has been pushing for better portfolios and intends to give one of them to Yamina.The obvious first suspect to receive the professional appointment was Sheba Medical Center director-general Yitshak Kreiss, who has been close to Gantz and Ashkenazi for decades, since their army service together. But he decided to keep his post at the hospital. Another name that has been raised is Ronni Gamzu, the CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.But Barhoum would not only give Blue and White a professional health minister whose appointment would be praised, it would also fulfill Gantz's goal of appointing an Arab to a high profile cabinet position and give the cabinet that will be dominated by ministers from the Center of the country a representative of the periphery.Barhoum has headed the Galilee Medical Center since 2007 when he became the first Arab director-general of a government hospital in Israel. He became a sought after speaker around the world when he spoke openly about his hospital's treatment of some 3,000 Syrian refugees from 2013 to 2019. He twice went to Washington to address the AIPAC Policy Conference. Lately, he has been in the news speaking about treating coronavirus patients.Unlike Kreiss, who ruled out taking the portfolio from day one, Barhoum would not rule out taking the position if offered."No one has approached me about the post," Barhoum told The Jerusalem Post. "All options are open."Blue and White intends to only start allocating portfolios after Thursday, when the bills needed to form a government are passed into law. Gantz will not approach candidates for health minister until it is final that the party will be given the portfolio."Let us capture the bear before we start allocating its hide," a source close to Gantz said. Barhoum's name was originally raised as a good candidate for health minister by Jerusalem Post columnist Amotz Asa-El in his column on Friday, which reached officials close to Gantz who are involved in allocating portfolios. Raleb Majadleh, who was a minister-without-portfolio and science and technology minister from 2007 to 2009, was the first Arab and Muslim minister. There have been three ministers who are Druse. Barhoum would be the first Arab Christian minister. Yamina leader Naftali Bennett reiterated his request for the Health portfolio for himself that he first made last week. He said that if Netanyahu offered him the post and the management of the coronavirus crisis, he would accept the challenge. "This is really a national mission," he said. "To prepare for another wave of infections that could come in the fall, significant preparation and action will be necessary. We must be ready to make sure we will not have to close down our economy again and harm the livelihoods of a million Israelis."