Job Vacancy at Finance Ministry After Lapid Firing

YERUSHALAYIM -

While everyone else is talking about who will be the next prime minister, some people are wondering who will be the next finance minister, now that Yair Lapid no longer works there.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to appoint a replacement, but he has not yet reached a decision on the matter, Globes reported on Thursday.

Sources close to him think that Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz (Likud) will get the nod, while retaining his present post.

Another candidate is Minister of Intelligence, International Relations, and Strategic Affairs and former Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz (Likud), a loyal Netanyahu supporter.

On the other hand, Netanyahu may decide not to decide, for the present. With Likud primaries set for January 6, Netanyahu might wait until that’s over, in order to secure the loyalties of those interested in the position, notably Gilad Erdan.

Political sources point out that Netanyahu needs Katz’s support to carry out his wishes in the Likud, and will therefore give him the job. At the moment, Katz is leading the changes that Netanyahu wants in the Likud constitution, included the reserving of places on the party Knesset list in order to make it more attractive to voters, so it is likely that Netanyahu will reward him for this.

Then again, Steinitz’s prior experience as Minister of Finance is undeniably a credential, in contrast to the outgoing Lapid, who entered the position with no experience in the field whatsoever.

The next Minister of Finance will hold the position in the transition government for four months, until the next elections are held and a new government is formed.

It remains unclear what will happen with the other portfolios vacated after the firing of the Ministers of Justice, Health, Welfare and Social Services, and Education. Under the law, however, ministers cannot be appointed in a transition government who are not already in the cabinet. It appears that ministers from the Likud will be appointed to the vacant posts, although it is possible that a minister from the Jewish Home party will receive one of the portfolios, Globes said.