Netanyahu Wants to Keep Akunis at Helm of Economic Affairs C'tee

PM to make fellow Likud MK Carmel Shama another offer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to leave MK Ofir Akunis (Likud ) in his post as chairman of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee instead of replacing him on November 1 with fellow Likud MK Carmel Shama, even though an internal Likud agreement concluded after the last election required Shama to replace Akunis as chairman next month.

Carmel Shama- David Bachar
David Bachar

Likud sources said Netanyahu hopes to get Shama to agree to the change, and in return, the prime minister would soon offer Shama a different post. It is possible the new job will be as a deputy minister. Netanyahu is expected to make a decision in the next few days and make his offer to Shama soon afterward.

Akunis and Shama have been waging a behind-the-scenes war for the past few months, as both want the chairman's post. Akunis is considered very close to Netanyahu, and Likud sources said they expect him to keep the job in the end.

The committee will soon be discussing a long list of economic reforms in the context of the budget approval process, including several that are quite important to Netanyahu, like the issue of economic concentration. Netanyahu would thus prefer to have one of his confidantes in charge of the debate.