Report: Netanyahu Still Saving Foreign Ministry for Likely Opposition Chairman Herzog
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely that he was still holding the position of foreign minister for likely Opposition chairman Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog, just hours before the new coalition was to be sworn in.
“I’m saving the [foreign minister’s] portfolio for Herzog, but it won’t happen anytime soon,” Netanyahu told Hotovely, according to Israeli Channel 2 News.
Netanyahu’s comment surfaced just hours before the new coalition was to be sworn in, and as Likud MK Miri Regev received the Culture Ministry, and Likud MK Danny Danon the Science and Technology Ministry.
The prime minister told Hotovely that he was saving the post for Herzog, just in case the Zionist Union and its 24 MKs entered into Netanyahu coalition, which at 61 seats just barely passes the requisite majority.
Herzog denies any intention to join the coalition, and has even called for new elections over what he said was an unsustainable coalition majority.
Hotovely — who was named deputy foreign minister — received the prime minister’s word that she would remain in control of the foreign ministry even though the prime minister was holding it temporarily for himself, according the Channel 2 News.
Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation as foreign minister in early May after service in that capacity for close to six years over “principles” disagreements with Netnayahu’s new coalition.