(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
A debate in the Knesset Law Committee on Monday over a relatively minor clause
in a proposed electoral reform bill indicated how difficult it will be for the
reforms to pass.
The clause in the bill proposed by MK Ronen Hoffman
(Yesh Atid) and committee chairman MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) says that
there will be no more ministers-without-portfolio and no minister will hold more
than one portfolio.
The goal of the clause is to indirectly limit the
number of ministries and minimize government waste.
MKs in Bayit Yehudi,
whose leader Naftali Bennett holds three portfolios, complained that the clause
would make the government less stable without actually saving money for
“This is all a game,” Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck
“The bill won’t result in there being less salaries and
functionaries. All that is needed to limit the number of ministries is the
element of shame.”
When Struck, who lives in Hebron, said she actually
opposed the bill but would vote in favor due to coalition discipline, Labor MK
Miki Rosenthal told her, “There is no gun to your head and no
Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar defended the bill, saying it is “wrong
for one man to head two ministries” and that ministries- without-portfolio are
an unnecessary “invention for coalitions” with no real benefit.
chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) said ministers- without-portfolio are a necessary
evil to keep small parties happy inside the coalition and enable the Knesset to
“They might look bad to the public, but they ease political
pressure and make it easier to get things done,” Levin said.
clause in the bill limiting the number of deputy ministers to four, MK Dov Henin
(Hadash) recalled that when he was education minister, Yossi Sarid referred to
his deputy minister from Shas, Meshulam Nahari, as “the potted plant in the
“There shouldn’t be any deputy ministers,” Henin said. “They
have nothing to do but meander in frustration.
At best they’re plants
which know where they belong and at worst plants with no place at all.”