Will MK Shama-Hacohen Be the Deputy Minister for Economic Concentration?

Netanyahu offers job to current Knesset Economic Affairs Committee chairman; Finance Minister Steinitz likely to object.

MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud ), the chairman of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, was offered the post of deputy minister in return for giving up his job as committee chairman. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the offer via his bureau, but Shama-Hacohen is expected to agree only if he is put in charge of the government's activities to rein in economic concentration.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will likely object to such an offer, said Likud party sources, and Netanyahu has yet to decide whether to offer Shama-Hacohen the position.

Netanyahu made Shama-Hacohen the offer in the hopes that he could shift Kadima's Shaul Mofaz ifrom the chairmanship of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and give the chairmanship to the Likud. Mofaz has headed the defense committee since nearly the beginning of Netanyahu's term, through an agreement with Kadima in return for the Economic Affairs Committee.

Netanyahu and his office are furious at Mofaz's criticism of the government, as well as his recent torpedoing budgetary transfers to the Defense Ministry.