With the inclusion of the Labor Party in the coalition government, only a limited number of less prominent cabinet portfolios remain for Premier-designate Binyamin Netanyahu’s own party. As such, Netanyahu has contacted Prof Yaakov Ne’eman, asking him to forgo becoming justice minister as planned. This would leave the senior post for Likud MK Gideon Saar, which would free the education ministry for Moshe Ya’alon, who stepped down as defense minister-designate to clear the slot for Ehud Barak.
The problem is Ne’eman’s appointment is the result of a deal made with Yisrael Beitenu, permitting the party to select the justice minister. When Avigdor Lieberman agreed to back down from the controversial re-appointment of Daniel Friedman, Ne’eman became an acceptable substitute. It should also be pointed out that Lieberman was adamant in his refusal that the post is given to a Likud member.
It appears that despite Netanyahu’s good intentions, Lieberman vetoed his planned change and for now at least, Ne’eman remains the candidate for the justice portfolio.
In the meantime, the sentiment of disapproval is growing in Likud as senior party officials are coming to the realization that they will not serve as a minster in the incoming administration as expected.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)