Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday named Tourism Minister Yariv Levin as acting immigrant absorption minister to replace Sofia Landver (Yisrael Beytenu), who resigned last month.
Netanyahu’s choice is said to have greatly disappointed Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy at the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren (Kulanu), who were both eyeing the position.
Coalition sources told Israel Hayom that Netanyahu decided not to promote Hotovely or Oren to avoid being bound by the appointment in any future distribution of government portfolios.
Last month, Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defense minister and withdrew his party from the ruling coalition, prompting Landver to also resign. The moves have led to a cabinet reshuffle.
A statement by Levin’s office said, “I thank the prime minister for his confidence in me. Encouraging immigration and immigrant absorption are first and foremost Zionist tasks, and I see it as a privilege to focus on them. I will do everything in my power to increase the immigration to Israel and improve the absorption process of the immigrants who are already here, all while I continue to promote tourism at a time when we are about to set a new record and receive the four millionth tourist.”