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Friday, January 25, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Offers Yair Lapid Foreign Or Finance Ministry

Source: The Times of Israel
By Yoel Goldman


In their lengthy meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly offered Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid the position of finance or foreign minister in the next government.

Since elections on Tuesday, when Yesh Atid won 19 seats and became the second-largest party in the Knesset, Lapid’s political horizons have broadened significantly, and he is almost certainly expected to take a senior ministerial role in the next governing coalition.

Lapid’s advisors, however, have urged him not to take the Finance Ministry because of widespread budgetary cuts expected in the coming months, which could hurt his image.

Also, historically, the Finance Ministry has been the Elba of cabinet positions. Only three people have ever continued on from the Finance Ministry to the position of prime minister: Levi Eshkol, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert.

Former foreign minister and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman hinted Thursday that he would be willing to abandon his own preference for taking back the foreign affairs portfolio — he resigned last month to battle a corruption charge — in favor of Lapid.

But on Wednesday, Liberman had intimated that because of his concern for socioeconomic affairs, Lapid might more naturally gravitate to the Finance Ministry. With a financial crisis brewing, Liberman would presumably love to see his new rival crucified daily in the press.

On Thursday, the Yisrael Beytenu head left it up to the prime minister, saying, “The Foreign Ministry portfolio doesn’t have my name on it.”

Mitch Ginsburg contributed to this report.