Itongadol.- After Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beytenu announced Monday that he would not join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu\’s coalition and resigned from his post as foreign minister, politicians who had previously been eyeing the coveted job spent little time lamenting over Lieberman\’s resignation.
Battle on for Foreign Ministry after Lieberman quits coalition talks
Specifically, Bayit Yehudi\’s Naftali Bennett, who was set to become the Education Minister before the announcement, was said to try once again to gain the now vacant position. Bennett has claimed in the past few weeks that the job was promised to him.
However, members of Netanyahu\’s own Likud party are also aiming to take the position of foreign minister, such as Minister Gilad Erdan, who came in first in the Likud primaries.
Mere minutes after Lieberman made his announcement on Monday, his deputy Tzachi Hanegbi, a Likud member, announced the he considers himself fit for the job. Along with Erdan and Hanegbi, Likud member Yisrael Katz is also looking to hold the position.
Despite Bennett\’s former comments about the foreign minister position being promised to him, it seems that Netanyahu will not hand over the foreign ministry portfolio to the Bayit Yehudi leader.
It is more likely that Netanyahu will hold on to the Foreign Ministry portfolio as well as the Immigration and Absorption MInistry on the off chance that Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog or Lieberman does decide to join the coalition after all.
It appears that due to internal struggles, Netanyahu may keep the position vacant and use it to lure another party into his narrow coalition. High-ranking officials within the Likud have said that Netanyahu is trying to keep an arsenal of attractive positions for later stages in the coalition building process.
Either way, the battles over the position in the Likud continue with Katz, Erdan and Hanegbi all trying to gain the coveted job.
In the meantime, Zionist Union members have been urging Herzog not to join the Netanyahu government – which he has said he will not – and even offered scenarios where Netanyahu would not be able to form a government by the Wednesday deadline, giving Herzog the opportunity to form an alternative government.