Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly continued to face resistance as he met with lawmakers on Saturday evening in a bid to finish doling out ministerial posts ahead of the new government’s swearing-in, ostensibly scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
As the clock struck midnight, only two positions had apparently been accepted, as haggling continued with other lawmakers jockeying for posts, including two who staged a rare public rebellion on Thursday that forced the government’s planned swearing-in to be delayed.
Netanyahu announced on Twitter Saturday night that outgoing Economy Minister Eli Cohen would become the new intelligence minister.
“The Israeli intelligence apparatus is renowned internationally and has tremendous importance to the country’s security. I’ll work to strengthen and upgrade the intelligence system,” Cohen was quoted saying in a Likud party statement.
Cohen was previously a lawmaker in outgoing Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, which was folded into Likud last year.
In addition, outgoing Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, who had reportedly turned down the position of higher education minister last week, said she accepted an appointment to become the new environmental protection minister.
Gamliel confirmed the appointment on Twitter and indicated that she would place climate change as the number one item on her ministry’s agenda. “The climate crisis is one of the most important issues for humanity and it should top our priorities,” she wrote.
Among the other MKs Netanyahu met with on Saturday were Gideon Sa’ar, Avi Dichter and Tzachi Hanegbi.
Sa’ar, who unsuccessfully challenged Netanyahu in the Likud leadership primary in December and is considered the prime minister’s top rival in the party, has not been linked to any government role. Continue Reading….