Court may delay expansion of incoming Israeli government

High Court of Justice is set to respond by Monday morning to petition filed by Yesh Atid, requesting injunction to halt enlarging cabinet.

The Knesset
The High Court of Justice asked the state to respond by 8 a.m. Monday to a petition filed Sunday night by Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah seeking an injunction to delay allowing an expanded cabinet until the government follows proper procedure.
According to a Basic Law passed two years ago, the next cabinet must have only 18 ministers. The cabinet voted Sunday to delay its implementation to the 21st Knesset.
The goal of the petition is to prevent ministers from being sworn-in by a deadline originally thought to be Wednesday.
Likud officials said that, due to a legal loophole, the deadline may only end up being next Monday.
“We filed the petition to stop this detestable process by which the government is trying to pass its detestable decision to expand the cabinet against the wishes of the public, ethics and common sense while violating proper procedures of the cabinet and the Knesset,” Shelah told reporters outside the Court. “I am sure the Court will have its say and ensure good sense will win out.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called the cabinet’s decision to increase the size of the next cabinet shameful.
“It was a decision to take money that was due for welfare, healthcare and education and waste it on political jobs,” Lapid said. “This isn’t a few million shekels, I can’t be sold that. I served as minister of finance, and I know the numbers. Every unnecessary minister creates hundreds of millions of shekels of activity around them. It’s easy to check in the previous budgets.”
Lapid vowed to fight the move in the Knesset, the courts and the streets.
“It is a violation of the principles of democracy in which the government works for the people, not the people who create jobs for the government,” he said. “We’ll create a parliamentary struggle which will go on for hours and days with every possible objection because it isn’t right, it isn’t just and it isn’t moral.”
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin responded by accusing Lapid of not knowing math, saying the next government will have 20 ministers but the previous one in which he served had 22.
“For Lapid, 20 is more than the 22,” he said. “He was fine with serving as finance minister in a government with 22 but is now complaining about a government with 20.”