Hanegbi has spent most of his adult political life in the Likud. He did go with Sharon and Olmert to Kadima, but was possibly the first prominent MK/minister to return to Likud. Erdan, who is younger, has always been in Likud is extremely popular with its members. Look at their rankings in the most recent Likud Primaries.
2 – Minister Gilad Erdan (#3 in 2013 and 2009)
12 – Deputy Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (#17 in 2013, Kadima MK in 2009)
So, why has Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu given them such low level cabinet appointments?
Hanegbi, davka, got the most difficult parliamentary position there is, Coalition Chairman. It requires major and unabashed arm-twisting, along with enormous doses of charm. With a razor-thin margin, the bare-bones 61 member coalition does require an experienced, talented and expert politician like Hanegbi, but Bibi should have sweetened the package and prepared him better.
Erdan is a generation younger than Netanyahu, (Bibi and I are the same age, and Erdan was at Bar Ilan with one of my daughters,) so considering his popularity in the Likud it’s obvious that he expects to succeed Bibi as party head and Prime Minister. It seems that Netanyahu isn’t thinking of retirement quite yet.
Netanyahu’s cabinet appointments has only made Hanegbi’s job more difficult. One wonders what Gilad Erdan has up his sleeve.