Profiles of Likud Minister Candidates – A method to the madness of my wild guess scenario.

The 5 current Likud Ministers:

Gilad Erdan

Entered Knesset in: 2003

Knesset Terms: 5th

Spot on Likud List: 2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2013, 3rd in 2009

Current Title: Interior Minister

Former Titles: Communications Minister, Environment Minister, Homefront Defense Minister

Predicted Title: Internal (Homeland) Security Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that it will be difficult to give the new #2 Likud the promotion he seeks in the current political atmosphere. Netanyahu is worried he might disrespect Erdan similar to the mistake he made with the previous Likud #2 (Saar). The Homeland Security Minister position allows Erdan to maintain his position in the Security Cabinet and is among the best positions available to Likud members. Erdan, who wants Foreign and is upset that he lost out on Education, might decide to fight the position. If Erdan does take the job he will be able to grab headlines as the man who brought back law and order to both the police and certain sectors and geographical locations of Israeli society.

Yisrael Katz

Entered Knesset in: 1998

Knesset Terms: 7th

Spot on Likud List: 4th in 2015, 5th in 2013, 11th in 2009

Current Title: Transportation Minister (since 2009)

Former Titles: Agriculture Minister

Predicted Title: Transportation Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu wants to stay on the good side of the internally popular minister who is also the head of the Likud Mazkirut (Secretariat). Allowing Katz to remain in the same position for a third straight term will allow him to oversee some of the finishing touches to some of his major transportation projects.

Silvan Shalom

Entered Knesset in: 1992

Knesset Terms: 8th

Spot on Likud List: 6th in 2015, 4th in 2013, 7th in 2009

Current Title: Energy & Water Minister, Negev & Galil Minister, Regional Cooperation Minister

Former Titles: Deputy Prime Minister, Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Science & Technology Minister, Deputy Defense Minister

Predicted Title: Interior Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that after fulfilling an impressive resume that Shalom is eyeing the post of Prime Minister and because of that reason Netanyahu has been cautious of him. Interior is one of the best positions available and is one of the only top ministries that Shalom has not yet experienced. Shalom, who feels slighted, is ready to go for Foreign or bust, but Shalom might be in a pickle with the Prime Minister not giving out the portfolio. Increasing the relationship with Likud city mayors in the field is something that any potential Likud leadership challenger will find difficult to resist. Shalom would be the only Minister to serve in all four Netanyahu governments.

Moshe Yaalon

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 7th in 2015, 8th in 2013, 8th in 2009

Current Title: Defense Minister

Former Titles: Deputy Prime Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister

Predicted Title: Defense Minister

Analysis: Despite promising the position to Bennett before the elections, it looks like Netanyahu will offer Yaalon the job of Defense. Despite the fact that the former IDF COS has never reached the Likud’s top 5, Yaalon will most likely stay in the key top position, as no one has dared compete against him for it.

Yuval Steinitz

Entered Knesset in: 1999

Knesset Terms: 6th

Spot on Likud List: 13th in 2015, 16th in 2013, 9th in 2009

Current Title: International Relations Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister, Intelligence Affairs Minister

Former Titles: Finance Minister, Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Communications Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu has always offered Steinitz a better job than his position has called for and this time will be no different. The coalition agreements clearly call for new powers to go to a loyalist Communications Minister who will enjoy an expanded ministry. Steinitz might ask for a second portfolio from Netanyahu that is of lesser value and he might get it.

The 6 Veteran MKs:

Benny Begin

Entered Knesset in: 1988

Knesset Terms: 5th (Did not serve in 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th Knesset terms)

Spot on Likud List: Netanyahu reserved spot #11 for him in 2015

Current Title: Returning from his second retirement

Former Titles: Minister without Portfolio that serves in Security Cabinet, Science & Technology Minister

Predicted Title: International Relations Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister, Intelligence Affairs Minister, Regional Cooperation Minister, Jerusalem Affairs Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu asked Begin back from retirement and now he must reward him with a good ministry. The idea of merging perhaps as much as five ministries into one could be the answer. Netanyahu could add Begin, using the excuse of Strategic and/or Intelligence, to the Security Cabinet to gain an extra vote. It is hard to believe that Begin is the same guy who ran against Netanyahu under the National Union flag in 1999.

Tzachi Hanegbi

Entered Knesset in: 1988

Knesset Terms: 9th (2 terms in Kadima)

Spot on Likud List: 12th in 2015, 17th in 2013, in Kadima during 2009 elections

Current Title: Deputy Foreign Minister (technically left post following Liberman resignation), Deputy Health Minister

Former Titles: Justice Minister, Health Minister, Internal (Homeland) Security Minister, Transportation Minister, Environment Minister, Minister in Prime Minister’s Office

Predicted Title: Energy & Water Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that the veteran Hanegbi has been loyal and the time has come to pay him with a good ministry. Energy & Water is a large budget ministry that has traditionally went to top ministers. Hanegbi, who a few weeks earlier was calling for Foreign, would probably take it if offered.

Gila Gamliel

Entered Knesset in: 2003

Knesset Terms: 4th (did not serve during 17th Knesset)

Spot on Likud List: 14th in 2015, 20th in 2013, 19th in 2009

Current Title: Likud Backbencher

Former Titles: Deputy Youth Minister, Deputy Agriculture Minister

Predicted Title: Senior Citizens Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu promised Gamliel that she would be the next Minister appointed to the previous government and it never happened. Netanyahu knows that considering this will be her first minister job that he can give her a less glamorous ministry and she will probably take it.

Chaim Katz

Entered Knesset in: 1999

Knesset Terms: 6th

Spot on Likud List: 17th in 2015, 13th in 2013, 14th in 2009

Current Title: Labor, Welfare & Health Committee Chairman

Former Titles: Likud Backbencher

Predicted Title: Welfare Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu gave away Katz’s Committee Chairmanship to Kulanu. Katz had served three of his previous five terms as the Labor, Welfare & Health Committee Chairman. Katz has in the past declined Deputy Minister positions and is a great position to receive a portfolio considering there are not many Committee Chair positions that would be considered a promotion that are left open. Welfare seems like the most natural fit.

Ayoub Kara

Entered Knesset in: 1999

Knesset Terms: 4th (Did not serve in 17th and 19th Knesset terms)

Spot on Likud List: 24th in 2015, Did not enter Knesset in 2013, 23rd in 2009

Current Title: Returning from forced retirement

Former Titles: Deputy Negev & Galil Minister

Predicted Title: Deputy Defense Minister #2 and Deputy Minorities’ Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows it makes sense to appoint Kara as the only non-Jewish Minister to his government but he doesn’t plan to do so. He isn’t going to appoint the only Ethiopian MK as the Immigration & Absorption Minister either. It would be hard for Kara to refuse a Deputy Defense Minister position and control of a large budget as the Deputy of Minorities without a Minister above him. Kara, might not be satisfied and throw a fit.

Avi Dichter

Entered Knesset in: 2006

Knesset Terms: 3rd  (Did not serve in 19th Knesset, elected to both previous terms as a Kadima MK)

Spot on Likud List: #26 in 2015, Was not elected in 2013, Was elected as Kadima MK in 2009

Current Title: Returning from forced retirement

Former Titles: Internal (Homeland) Security Minister, Homefront Defense Minister

Predicted Title: Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

Analysis: Netanyahu wants to appoint the ex-Kadima MK to a top position and it is difficult to do so with his low showing in the Likud primaries. Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman is a great offer for the former head of the Shabak (Shin Bet).

The 6 Members of the 2009 Likud Class:

Zeev Elkin

Entered Knesset in: 2006

Knesset Terms: 4th (1st term was as a Kadima MK)

Spot on Likud List: 8th in 2015, 9th in 2013, 20th in 2009

Current Title: Coalition Chairman

Former Titles: Deputy Foreign Minister, Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, House Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Culture & Sport Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that the veteran of this class has helped him move mountains over the last six years and that it is time for him to reward Elkin. Elkin would probably like the Immigration & Absorption Ministry but Netanyahu might hold on to it for now. Culture & Sport is a good fit considering the large budget ministry and the fact that Elkin has excellent relations with Shas who will Chair the Education, Culture & Sport Committee.

Yariv Levin

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 10th in 2015, 11th in 2013, 21st in 2009

Current Title: Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

Former Titles: Coalition Chairman, House Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Science & Technology Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that he also owes a great deal of debt to Levin. Out of the lower class ministry positions that you would give a rookie minister the Science & Technology is a Ministry that makes sense for Levin.

Miri Regev

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 5th in 2015, 14th in 2013, 27th in 2009

Current Title: Interior Committee Chairwoman

Former Titles: Likud Backbencher

Predicted Title: Tourism Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu doesn’t want to make Regev a Minister but by appointing her she will be more careful with her conduct and it will add an additional Likud female minister to the cabinet table. Regev probably will not like Tourism but there are limited options as to what Netanyahu will want to give Regev.

Ofir Akunis

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 15th in 2015, 19th in 2013, 26th in 2009

Current Title: Deputy Environment Minister, Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Office

Former Titles: Finance (Kalkala) Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Office

Analysis: Netanyahu might decide to make Akunis a minister but he knows that Akunis will probably agree to stay where he was in the previous term. It is possible he gets an additional Deputy Minister position in another ministry.

Danny Danon

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 9th in 2015, 6th in 2013, 4th in 2009

Current Title: House Committee Member, Likud Backbencher

Former Titles: Deputy Defense Minister, Immigration, Absorption & Diaspora Affairs Committee Chairman, Child Rights Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Offered a Deputy Minister that he will turn down

Analysis: Netanyahu doesn’t like the Central Committee leader who challenged him for the leadership. Danon was the only Likud member of government to be fired in the previous government. Most likely Danon is offered a Deputy Minister again and declines. It is probable that Danon will keep on being one of Netanyahu’s biggest critics from within Likud.

Tzipi Hotovelly

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 20th in 2015, 10th in 2013, 18th in 2009

Current Title: Deputy Transportation Minister, Deputy Science & Technology Minsiter

Former Titles: Status of Women Committee Chairwoman

Predicted Title: Deputy Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu will probably not see a reason to appoint her after she failed in her attempts to get national religious figures to pressure the Bayit Yehudi during the coalition negotiations. She feels that despite finishing in the 20th position in the Likud list that she deserves a Minister position. She probably doesn’t get it but does get a nice position as Deputy Minister somewhere.

Dark Horse Candidate: Orly Levy splits with part of Yisrael Beitenu and takes the Welfare Ministry.

Additional Note: Netanyahu will announce 10 of the 12 Likud Ministers for Wed vote in order to ensure the 61 MKs needed to approve his government. He can survive with a safety net of disgruntled MKs down the road but he needs them for that first vote that approves the government. My guess is that Elkin & Levin are the two he saves for later so that they have the extra motivation.

Important Disclaimer: This is an analysis piece and is not based on anything the Prime Minister has promised, said or done. It should be expected that many of the appointments that were predicted above are wrong. The decision to make a wild guess prediction was made because I didn’t find anyone else that was bold enough to predict it.

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