Friedmann Saga May Put an End to Meridor's Political Comeback

Likud sources: Dan Meridor will find it difficult to sit in a cabinet with Daniel Friedmann as Justice Minister.

Will Dan Meridor's return to politics come to an end next week with the formation of a coalition government under Benjamin Netanyahu?

Sources in Likud and close to the prime minister designate believe that Meridor will find it difficult to sit in a cabinet with Daniel Friedmann as Minister of Justice. Sources said Sunday that Meridor will not present an ultimatum, but will certainly state things "very clearly" about the implications of a renewed tenure for Friedmann at Justice.

Senior Likud figures say that Meridor is faced with a major dilemma, after he learned that Netanyahu agreed to Avigdor Lieberman's request to leave Friedmann at Justice.

"The dilemma is whether to go home after only three months back in politics, or sit in a government and share responsibility for Friedmann's policies, which Meridor, by his own declarations, has come back to politics to counter," a source said.

Tension over the distribution of the ministerial portfolios is coming to a head since members of Likud are concerned that "serious" jobs are being given away to coalition partners.

MK Silvan Shalom, who is demanding the Foreign Ministry, which appears to have been promised to Lieberman, held a gathering Sunday night that Netanyahu has interpreted as a "political threat."

For his part, Netanyahu was quoted in recent days as saying that he does not intend to humiliate Shalom and that he intends to grant him a "respectable portfolio."