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Erdan challenges Netanyahu, refuses Cabinet position

In a surprising move, senior Likud member and former Interior Minister Gilad Erdan rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of a Cabinet position and is staying out of the new government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) sits next to armed forces chief Major-General Benny Gantz (L) and Gilad Erdan, minister of communications and home front protection, during a drill simulating a chemical rocket attack in Jerusalem May 29, 2013. Israel continued on Wednesday with its annual home front defence exercise, launched on Monday, preparing soldiers and civilians for missile attacks. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTX104PX
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Right up until the government was sworn in at the Knesset the night of May 14, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his closest advisers believed that former Interior Minister Gilad Erdan would be placated and join the new Cabinet. Netanyahu believed that things would remain as they always had been in his long relationship with Erdan. He believed that even if Erdan had hoped for a more senior appointment, he would accept being named minister of internal security, gaining him access to the Security Cabinet, and minister of strategic affairs. The prime minister’s working assumption was that although Erdan came in first in the recent Likud primaries, he would reach the inevitable conclusion that he would not get the Foreign Ministry, which is on hold for Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog, should a unity government eventually be formed.

But Erdan surprised everyone, including maybe even himself, when he decided on that momentous day to break the pattern of his usual relationship with Netanyahu. He took a gamble that could lead to the end of an impressive political career, but that could also be a political masterstroke, paving the way for him to contend for the Likud leadership at some time in the future.

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