Lapid slams 'redundant' non-portfolio cabinet posts

Lapid: Minister-without-portfolio is a symbol for social corruption; calls on politicians not to take on position in any gov't.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid 370 (photo credit: Efrat Sa'ar)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid 370
(photo credit: Efrat Sa'ar)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid dared the leaders of the parties running against him in the national elections Tuesday to follow his lead in vowing not to accept any appointments as minister without portfolio.
At a Tel Aviv press conference, Lapid said such appointments wastefully bloat the government at a cost of NIS 20 million per minister. Lapid and other Yesh Atid candidates posted their commitment to not be ministers-without-portfolio on their Facebook pages and asked politicians from other parties to follow suit on their own Facebook pages.
“Ministries-without-portfolio are a symbol for corruption, make government ineffective, and mock the taxpayers,” Lapid said.
“Whether or not we join the coalition, this ethical commitment must be made. Politicians who refrain from making this vow contribute to political corruption and the public should take revenge against them.”
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud), who is expected to receive a senior portfolio, accepted Lapid’s challenge. But Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said he was skeptical that all the parties joining the coalition would be willing to take fewer ministers and eliminate ministries without portfolios.
“The prime minister has a choice of whether or not to form a stable government,” Erdan said. “Yair Lapid doesn’t understand yet that it would cost a lot more to have another election if the government falls apart after a month.”
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Lapid’s bitter rivals on the Center-Left, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, mocked his initiative, issuing responses that Lapid called delusional.
“That was his dramatic socioeconomic announcement?” Livni, who was once a minister-withoutportfolio, said at a Tel Aviv press conference. “It’s sad that this is the issue he raises when there are so many challenges Israel is facing.”
Yacimovich accused Lapid of trying to help Netanyahu’s reelection, in a reaction that Lapid said made him dumbfounded.
“Wow, what a promise,” Yacimovich said at a Tel Aviv press conference. “It will be hard for him to keep that one. Well, I won’t join the Netanyahu government as a giraffe.”
The Jerusalem Post asked Lapid at the press conference whether he would seek the Foreign Ministry as the head of the secondlargest party, just like Avigdor Liberman did when he headed the second-largest party in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s first term.
“We will go to coalition negotiations and seek commitments about the middle class and equalizing the burden of IDF service,” Lapid said. “It’s not smart to ask in advance for portfolios.
It’s better to keep cards close to your chest and let the [Likud] sweat until the end of the [coalition- building] process.”