Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu..
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot keep four portfolios in addition to his main post, Yesh Atid said in a petition to the High Court of Justice filed Sunday.
Yesh Atid filed the petition at the behest of Supreme Court judge Hanan Melcer, who encouraged the party to add the prime minister’s case to a petition filed last week against United Torah Judaism leader Ya’acov Litzman heading the Health Ministry as a deputy minister.
“We widened our proposal to the Supreme Court so that not only will Rabbi Litzman serve as a minister and swear an oath of loyalty to the State of Israel, but also so that the prime minister will cease to be the foreign minister, health minister, communications minister and regional cooperation minister,” Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid said. “There should be full time ministers working for the good of the country. Serving in the government is not just a job with a driver and a car, it’s also work. They should start working for their salaries and the prime minister needs to stop turning Israel into a banana republic for his own political needs.”
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 was not a final decision and had no immediate legal consequences.
Having to allocate Netanyahu’s portfolios could cause him major political problems.
But coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi has said that 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 said. “If that means changing the law to fix a loophole, that is definitely possible. We will wait for the final ruling of the court.”