Shas Chair Aryeh Deri is expected to vacate his position as Minister of Economy, after all efforts to pass in the Knesset the transfer the authority to approve the gas roadmap from his ministry to the government.
Deri met with Prime Minister Netanyahu upon the latter’s return from Berlin and the two agreed that the Shas leader will leave the Ministry of Economy and will be given an alternative ministerial position. There are several options for Deri, including the option of grouping together responsibilities that are not currently under the jurisdiction of one ministry.
Deri will also continue in his role as Minister of the Development of the Negev and the Galilee. Government insiders believe the process of finding Deri a new position will be concluded by the Knesset vote to approve the state budget on November 19 and will allow for the authorization of the gas framework immediately after that vital vote.
In the past few weeks, several creative attempts were made to approve the roadmap, including a deal with Yesh Atid under which Yair Lapid’s faction would support the transfer of authority in return for lowering the gas price as was demanded originally.
The move failed, likely because Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz rushed to settle on a price with Noble Energy.
Another potential move was to gather support from the Joint List, but the effort failed in part because of the ongoing wave of terror. A similar move to gain Yisrael Beytenu’s support also failed.
As Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Construction Minister Yoav Galant, and Welfare Minister Haim Katz have not backed down from their intention to abstain from the vote in a bid to assure the coalition does not have a majority the government was left with no other option than to replace Deri as Economy Minister.
In the past few days, rumors have circulated that Deri and Interior Minister Silvan Shalom will switch roles; however, sources close to Shalom say they have not been contacted about the proposition.