As he relinquished the reins of the Interior Ministry on Sunday, outgoing minister Gilad Erdan said he would soon decide on his future in public life, but stressed that it would be “only in the Knesset and the government.”
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At the ceremony in which he handed over the ministry to Silvan Shalom, Erdan – who is not in the cabinet despite topping Likud’s primary list – referred to his suggestion that he be given a portfolio that would include both interior affairs and public security.
“It’s no secret that I very much wanted to remain here, in the Interior Ministry, and I suggested it be merged with the Public Security Ministry,” he said. “I thought that just as it is elsewhere in the West, it would be proper for the police and local authorities to be subordinate to the same ministerial official. My position was not accepted.”
Erdan was critical of the decision to remove the Planning Authority from the Interior Ministry and attach it to the Finance Ministry, headed by Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu). “There is no connection between the location of the [planning] authority and the number of housing units approved or housing prices. Transferring the planning function is liable to lead to a planning disaster that will seriously damage citizens’ lives.
“Planning is not just money. It’s also parks, beaches, where polluting factories will be located,” he added. “Do we want these things to be determined by an interested party that is only interested in economic considerations? The government must reconsider its position on the issue.”
Shalom, in his speech, addressed Erdan’s choice not to serve as a minister. “The fact you aren’t in the cabinet is burdensome,” he told Erdan. “When someone is in political life and is one of the movement’s senior figures, a situation in which he is not among the decision makers is unnatural and can also cause problems later on. I hope this is a brief break; you have a lot to contribute to the State of Israel. I have also said this in my conversations with the prime minister.”
Erdan expressed the hope that the High Court of Justice would not strike down, for a third time, the amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law aimed at asylum seekers. “We all know who suffers from this phenomenon – Israel’s weaker citizens,” he said.