A report by Kan 11 News on Friday said that Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz is seeking to appoint a professional as health minister, with two of the names under consideration being Professor Yitzchak Kreis, director of Sheba Medical Center, and Professor Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said earlier in the week that he would be relinquishing his position as health minister when the new government will be formed.
Such an appointment will need to be made in coordination with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the report said. However, no agreement has yet been reached between the two sides on appointing someone from outside the rightwing bloc as health minister.
According to the report, Blue and White is reportedly ready to “pay” for the Health Ministry by trading off with the Likud some of the smaller ministries it was to receive as part of the coalition agreement, but not the Foreign Ministry, which the Likud has demanded in exchange for the Health Ministry.
On Thursday, it was reported that Netanyahu has expressed willingness to appoint current Defense Minister Naftali Bennett as health minister, but the portfolio has not yet been officially offered to Yamina.
A poll conducted by the Direct Polls Institute on Thursday found that a large majority of the Israeli public – 44.2% – would prefer to see a public health professional assume the post of health minister.
Of the politicians named as candidates, Bennett received the most support, with 35.7% of respondents saying they would prefer to see him as health minister. Bennett has been very involved in the coronavirus response in Israel.
Bennett was far ahead of MK Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White), who received just 6.4%.