With the progression of coalition negotiations, the Likud-Beiteinu's securing of the Foreign Ministry seems final. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
reportedly agreed to hold the position of foreign minister for Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman,
who will assume the position once legal proceedings against him are concluded.
Lieberman, currently on trial for charges of fraud and breach of trust, addressed the issue on Sunday, saying, "There have been prior instances in which a prime minister held seven-eight portfolios. I don't think there's anything new about a PM holding the Foreign Ministry portfolio for a few months."
The Yisrael Beiteinu chairman referred to the possibility that if the Foreign Ministry is indeed reserved for him, Prime Minister Netanyahu would be the one acting as foreign minister until Lieberman reclaims the position. Lieberman added that the concept of prime ministers serving as ministers was not new to Israeli politics, as David Ben Gurion and Ehud Barak
both served as defense ministers while they were prime ministers.
The Yisrael Beiteinu
chairman noted that negotiations for the forming of Israel's
33rd government were held in accordance with the results of the Knesset election, adding that "the will of the people must be heard… Forming a government with (Yair) Lapid and (Naftali) Bennett is a natural step. The government that is being formed reflects the election results."
Whatever the composition of the next government will be, Lieberman said, "Its term will begin with a meeting with the president of the United States. I assume that both sides will present their perceptions of the regional issues… Syria,
and the Palestinian issue will all come up in the meeting."
According to Lieberman, next on the agenda for Netanyahu's government is the national budget, which is "a serious challenge," as he put it.
Last week, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein
said he found no legal impediment to holding the Foreign Ministry portfolio for Lieberman.
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