Likud: Netanyahu will stay foreign minister

When he formed his government in May, Netanyahu kept for himself the Foreign Affairs, Communications, Health, and Regional Cooperation portfolios. Having to allocate those portfolios could cause Neta

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 7, 2015 13:49
2 minute read.
netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not have to give up the Foreign Ministry or the other portfolios he holds despite a landmark statement by a Supreme Court judge, Likud officials said on Tuesday.

Justice Hanan Melcer, a former legal adviser to the Labor Party, told the state that Netanyahu cannot keep the ministries he currently holds without revising the law. The statement, which was not a final decision and had no immediate legal consequences, was made at a hearing of petitions filed by Yesh Atid.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


When he formed his government in May, Netanyahu kept for himself the Foreign Affairs, Communications, Health and Regional Cooperation portfolios.

Having to allocate those portfolios could cause him major political problems.

But coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi said, if necessary, the matter could be resolved by amending coalition agreements and passing technical bills in the Knesset, not by appointing new ministers.

“I hope the court won’t end the 67-year-old practice of the prime minister holding additional portfolios,” Hanegbi told Israel Radio. “If that means changing the law to fix a loophole, that is definitely possible. We will wait for the final ruling of the court.”

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, the ministerial liaison to the Knesset, expressed outrage at Melcer’s statement, accusing him of overstepping the bounds of the Supreme Court.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


“The intervention of the court contradicts what governments of Israel have done for generations, since the time of David Ben-Gurion,” Levin said. “The court does not legislate and any change in the current legal situation can only be made by the Knesset, and acting otherwise would constitute crossing yet another redline in the relations between the branches.”

The court gave Yesh Atid until Sunday to add complaints against the prime minister to its initial petition, which addressed only the special case of United Torah Judaism chairman Ya’acov Litzman running the Health Ministry as a deputy minister under Netanyahu. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv the petition would indeed be expanded.

“What the Supreme Court reminded us today is that the government of Israel must work for us,” Lapid said. “They are not there to get politicians a job or solve the prime minister’s political problems. Ministers have to work for us full time.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog praised the court, saying “the prime minister is breaking the law and should not be allowed to function this way.”

His Zionist Union No. 2, MK Tzipi Livni, expressed hope that the court would force the appointment of a communications minister and “end the process of the prime minister of democratic Israel becoming a one-man ruler with no limits or oversight.”

UTJ MK Israel Eichler told Israel Radio that if the court rules Litzman must be appointed a minister, his party’s rabbis would acquiesce. The party has not accepted ministerial roles in decades to avoid accepting collective responsibility for government decisions that go against Jewish law. Eichler protested Melcer’s view on the prime minister holding portfolios.

“The courts have no right to decide who should be a minister,” Eichler said. “That must be decided by 120 MKs. This is another example of the courts taking power for themselves that belongs to the parliament.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The tallit (prayer shawl) is a customary Jewish prayer garment.
September 21, 2018
Uncovering the tallit, the long-standing traditional textile in Israel

By DENNIS ZINN