Israel's Finance Minister Silvan Shalom accepted Ariel Sharon's offer Wednesday to serve as foreign minister in his new government. Earlier, Sharon offered the current foreign minister, Benjamin Netanyahu the position of finance minister - an offer that Netanyahu turned down.
"The prime minister said the role of finance minister is the central portfolio under the current circumstances and that Mr Netanyahu has all the talent, experience and ability to fill this role with great success," Sharon's office said in a statement. "The prime pinister heard with regret Mr Netanyahu's rejection," it added.
Netanyahu is likely to find himself out of the new government.
Sharon is expected to present all the ministers in his new government on Thursday.
Silvan Shalom, 45, was born in Tunisia and immigrated to Israel in 1959. He's married with five children. He holds a degrees in Economics (B.A.) and Accounting (C.P.A.), as well as a law degree (L.L.B.) and an M.A. in Public Policy from Tel Aviv University. A journalist by profession, he is a member of the Likud party.
Sharon's coalition includes 68 members, after the ultra right wing National Union party joined it late Tuesday night on a promise that any substantive negotiations with the Palestinians would be preceded by a government decision. The National Union sent a letter to Sharon expressing its opposition to a Palestinian state. (Albawaba.com)
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