The cabinet that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu presents this morning will be huge, with 30 ministers and seven or eight deputy ministers. Ergo, half of the coalition MKs will be serving in the new cabinet. Last night the Knesset chamber was fitted with an additional cabinet bench to accommodate the load.
There will be 15 Likudniks in the cabinet, possibly plus Silvan Shalom, who could have been regional development minister but insisted that he be acting prime minister as well.
Yisrael Beiteinu will have five ministers, as will Labor. Shas will have four and Habayit Hayehudi will have one. If United Torah Judaism joins the government later it will be able to appoint a deputy minister of health.
Yuval Steinitz will be finance minister, although Netanyahu had earlier insisted on holding the title himself. Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen will serve as deputy finance minister.
At the last second, Moshe Kahlon retains full responsibility for the Communications Ministry, though there had been a plan to split it into one portfolio for telecommunications and one for media.
Likud MK Michael Eitan will have ministerial status and will be responsible for improving government service in technology and computerization. Likud MK Moshe Ya'alon, who is a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, will be minister in charge of strategic affairs. Labor's Avishay Braverman will serve as minister responsible for minority affairs. They will be joined in the cabinet by three Likud ministers without portfolio, Yossi Peled, Dan Meridor and Benny Begin.
The expanded cabinet will cost more to run, an estimated NIS 150 million a year, and include about NIS 5 million for each minister's office, except for ministers without portfolio, who along with deputy ministers, will receive budgets of NIS 2 million each for their offices.
Ministers (with portfolio) will each have a personal office staff of up to 10 people. Ministers without portfolio and deputy ministers are authorized to hire six to eight staff members.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now