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January 17, 2013 3:30 pm

Israel’s Next Cabinet: Who Will Fill Key Ministerial Positions?

avatar by Zach Pontz

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A Knesset meeting. Photo: Sven Kindler.

Elections in Israel are five days away but there’s already talk of who will fill key ministerial positions once the results are in. While Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to retain his position, his political party, Likud Beiteinu, isn’t projected to win enough seats to avoid having to form a coalition with other parties.

According to Israel’s Channel 2, a recent claim by a senior Likud official has Yair Shamir, who is second on the Israel Beiteinu list, being designated as Minister of the Interior. Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the current Internal Security Minister, is expected to continue in that post. As Defense Minister, the main candidate is currently Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon. However, Netanyahu seems reluctant to appoint him to the post as Ya’alon is considered an opponent of an attack on Iran, and his position on settlements also may make things difficult for the prime minister. Channel 2 also reports that sources have said that Yair Lapid, Chairman of the Yesh Atid party, “has a future” as the next Education Minister.

The difficulty will be in allocating appointments to two key right-wing parties, Jewish Home and Shas. Naftali Bennett of Jewish Home will seek to be appointed as a senior minister, particularly in light of the number of seats his Jewish Home party is expected to win. The distribution of portfolios to Shas is also not clear, except for the Ministry of Religious Services. The Ministry of Welfare is an option for Shas as well, as the party claims that it bears the flag of concern for the poor and middle class.

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