Netanyahu. Largest gov't
Photo: AP
Steinitz. To be supervised?
Photo: Yoav Galai
Photo: Amir Cohen
Shalom. Senior position?
Photo: Amir Cohen

Netanyahu names Steinitz finance minister

Following nightly meeting at Knesset PM-designate informs Steinitz he will be appointing him finance minister in his new government; Officials in Netanyahu's office stress Bibi will be in charge of strategic economic policy

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu met with MK Yuval Steinitz at the Knesset Monday night and appointed him finance minister in his new government.


However, officials at Netanyahu's office stressed that Steinitz would be working under the PM-designate's direct supervision, and that Netanyahu will be in charge of Israel's economic strategy and the person heading its socioeconomic cabinet.


"I consider this appointment a huge vote of confidence," Steinitz said upon leaving the meeting. "One of the greatest tasks we're faced with is to deal with the financial crisis and this we will do."


Steinitz' appointment narrows down ever further Silvan Shalom's prospects of becoming a senior minister in Netanyahu's government. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Shalom on Tuesday in a bid to try and resolve the differences between the two.


Netanyahu's office has issued a statement late Monday night saying that both Steinitz and Shalom are expected to receive senior ministerial appointments.


The PM-designate held a series of meetings with the Likud members throughout Monday evening and night. The attempt to satisfy the demands of his party's senior members yielded a government of 30 ministers – the largest in the history of Israel.


Ministers' procession  

Earlier Monday Netanyahu informed his party's Knesset members of their designated positions in his new government.


The first to meet with Netanyahu was MK Michael Eitan, who will serve as a minister-without-portfolio in charge of improving the governmental service to the citizens.


MK Moshe Kahlon will be appointed communications minister, MK Yossi Peled will be a minister-without-portfolio, and MK Gila Gamliel will serve as deputy minister for women and youth affairs. MK Yuli Edelstein will receive an operational role, Netanyahu said, although his areas of responsibility have yet to be determined.


MK Gilad Erdan, who was next in line, was informed of his appointment environment minister. Erdan said in response, "I'm very excited. We'll lead a green revolution." He will also be a member of the Judges' Election Committee and serve as the liaison minister between the government and the Knesset.


MK Limor Livnat will serve as science, culture and sport minister, and will also serve in the National Security Cabinet.


Likud MK Reuven Rivlin was appointed Knesset speaker. Rivlin received a majority vote of 90 MKs, with no objections.


Speaking at the Knesset after his appointment, Rivlin said, "The Knesset is not just a stage for ceremonies, but a panel for debating and decision making. We were not elected to act as stand -ins, but to take an active part, a central part in democracy."


Later Monday evening, MK Gideon Sa'ar was named education minister, and will also sit in the National Security Cabinet. "Most of the meeting focused on the education system, the problems, and the need for a change in the system," Sa'ar said upon exiting Netanyahu's office.


Netanyahu also informed MK Yisrael Katz of his decision to appoint him to the position of transportation minister.


Former IDF chief Moshe Yaalon will be appointed minister of strategic affairs and will also serve as vice premier.


MK Dan Meridor will be appointed to the post of minister in charge of secret services and deputy prime minister, and will also be a member of the National Security Cabinet and the Kitchen Cabinet. Benny Begin was named as minister without portfolio and as a member of the National Security Cabinet and the Kitchen Cabinet.


פרסום ראשון: 03.31.09, 07:54
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