Watchdog warns Netanyahu against appointing another minister to cabinet

Movement for Quality Government says PM should keep the cabinet at 21 ministers and combine rather than split ministries.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 31, 2015 03:39
1 minute read.
Netanyahu at cabinet meeting

Netanyahu at cabinet meeting. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not appoint another Likud minister in place of former science, technology and space minister and new Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, the Movement for Quality Government wrote over the weekend in a letter to Netanyahu.

The same day that Danon ceased to be a minister on Thursday, United Torah Judaism leader Ya’acov Litzman got promoted from deputy minister of health to minister, due to rulings of the High Court of Justice and the UTJ Council of Torah Sages. That kept the number of ministers in the cabinet at 21.

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But sources close to Netanyahu said he intended to appoint another minister from the Likud soon, either coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi or MK Bennie Begin.

They said the appointment was likely to take place around the time the Knesset comes back from its extended summer recess in October.

Netanyahu’s coalition partners have given him permission to appoint another Likud minister. They have told the prime minister that he should not be punished for the court-imposed promotion of Litzman to the cabinet. But the Movement for Quality Government said he should keep the cabinet at 21 ministers and combine rather than split ministries.

“The prime minister should maintain a government that benefits the people, in which every minister will have a role that justifies its cost,” the movement wrote Netanyahu.

“It is important to maintain the public’s trust in the its leaders and use the public’s resources fairly and wisely.”

The group said there was no reason to appoint another minister, because the cabinet is expected to approve the appointment of Minister- Without-Portfolio Ophir Akunis as science, technology and space minister on Monday. Akunis was given the portfolio as a consolation prize for him losing out on the UN ambassadorship to Danon.

A governmental commission that checked how many ministers Israel needs came to the conclusion that only 15 were needed.

“The movement believes that a government with too many ministers wastes public funds, is unhelpful, and harms the ability to govern and make decisions,” the watchdog group wrote. “The public should not be held hostage to coalition demands that force the appointment of unnecessary ministers that have no professional need.”


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