Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his advisors over the weekend to prepare for the distribution of portfolios and positions among Likud members, which is set to take place on Sunday. One by one, the Likud leadership will be summoned to hear from Netanyahu what position they will take in the new government. It is thought that many, however, will leave those meetings dissatisfied and even embittered, having expected to get more senior positions.
"Netanyahu left the Likud with the crumbs," a party official said. "Not only did the other parties in the coalition get most of the good portfolios, but Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman managed to lower the number of Likud ministers to get more for his party." According to the official, "The recalcitrant Knesset members will make things difficult for the prime minister this term."
Some Likud MKs have already communicated to Netanyahu's camp that they will refuse the positions offered to them and work as Netanyahu's opposition from within the Likud's leadership. MK Silvan Shalom, who served as Negev and Galilee development minister in the previous government and is expected to be given the same portfolio as well as the Strategic Affairs Ministry, stated on Saturday via his associates that if he cannot be influential in the cabinet, he would prefer to be just an MK.
Those close to Netanyahu asserted that the prime minister will do his best to find Shalom a senior position. It is presumed, however, that Netanyahu will not approve making Shalom Vice Prime Minister, as during the coalition negotiations with Habayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid it was decided that if anyone gets the title, then the leaders of those two parties will have to receive a similar title as well.
In a widely-anticipated move, Netanyahu asked former IDF Chief of General Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon (Likud) to serve as his defense minister on Sunday. "With so much turbulence engulfing the region, and with Israel going through a crucial moment in its history, it is important that someone with Ya'alon's experience be appointed as defense minister," Netanyahu told the Israeli media shortly after the two met on Sunday.
Likud MK Danny Danon was offered the post of deputy defense minister on Sunday as well. Last week he informed the prime minister's camp that he will not agree to be assigned just any ministry. If Danon refuses the deputy defense minister position, MK Tzachi Hanegbi is expected to take his place, an event which would turn Danon into one of the more militant anti-Netanyahu MKs.
Gila Gamliel voiced her expectation to be upgraded from deputy minister to minister in the incoming government as well. Gamliel, Danon and Tzipi Hotovely, who is expected to be deputy minister if Gamliel gives up the position, have all said they expect Netanyahu to replace Limor Livnat as culture and sports minister with a younger Likud member. Livnat is still thought to be saved a spot in the emerging government.
Another "embittered" Likud member is outgoing Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who was ousted from his position after Netanyahu opted to replace him with Yuli Edelstein.
Some Likud members will see themselves getting an upgrade in the coming government. Outgoing Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon will become the new defense minister, Gilad Erdan will go from being the environmental protection minister to heading the Communications and Homefront Defense ministries and Gideon Sa'ar, who sought to remain the education minister, will become the interior minister.