Imagining the Next Cabinet

Below is a field guide to key economic positions and likely candidates.

Moments after President Shimon Peres announced Friday that he was tapping Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government, Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas began fighting over cabinet appointments. These parties are set to be the main coalition partners.

Below is a field guide to key economic positions and likely candidates.

National Infrastructure:Yisrael Beiteinu will demand the post for chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, unless he gets a more important portfolio such as finance. Likud wants MK Benny Begin, who has a Ph.D. in geology, to get the job.

The minister will have to tackle Israel's water crisis, followed by the issues raised by the recent offshore natural gas find as well as the construction of solar energy plants in the south. And before July 1, when Israel Electric Corporation reforms go into effect, the minister will have to figure out how to push through efficiency measures and open the market to competition.

Industry, Trade and Labor: Yisrael Beiteinu is demanding the job for MK Stas Misezhnikov, who as chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee supported small and medium-sized businesses. Likud MKs Limor Livnat and Moshe Kahlon are also eyeing the post.

The minister's busy agenda will include creating a consumer protection authority, increasing the budget for state aid to industry and large businesses, and working with other ministries to create jobs.

Transportation: Likud wants to keep the portfolio, giving it to MK Gilad Erdan perhaps, or either Livnat or Kahlon (barring other appointments).

The most urgent issues: continuing the ports reform and pulling major projects out of the scarce-financing mud. Next are continuing public transport reforms and restoring trust in aviation safety.

Communications: Shas wants to keep Ariel Atias in the post unless he gets the housing portfolio. Likud will demand it for Erdan, unless he gets transportation.

The minister will have to finish what he (or his predecessor) started: introducing competition into the mobile phone sector. That could means new players in the form of virtual mobile network operators, which sell phones and services but use existing cellular networks. The cellular providers can be expected to put up heavy resistance.

Health: Industry buzz tips Shas MK Yakov Margi as the frontrunner.

The minister's first job will presumably be to tow the country's largest insurer, Clalit Health Services, out of its deep doldrums due to an arbitration decision giving the HMO's physicians a 24.2% pay hike. Clalit says that will cost it NIS 400 million a year.