Netanyahu announces new security cabinet

Benjamin Netanyahu announced his new security cabinet, of which eight of the 11 seats were from his Likud Party.

Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will establish an 11-member security cabinet that will be authorized to make decisions for the government on matters of national security.

Likud politicians who will have decision-making power on highly sensitive security matters are: Defense Minister Yoav Galant, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, Transportation Minister Miri Regev, Energy Minister Yisrael Katz, and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter.

The remaining three seats on the cabinet went to Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri, who heads the Shas party, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich who heads the National Religious Party and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

A smaller ministerial committee on Israel's Security Agency will include Netanyahu, Levin, Galant, Education Minister Yoav Kisch and Ben-Gvir.

While Regev will be the only woman in the security cabinet, the makeup of the ministers will give Netanyahu a clear majority that will likely follow his lead on key votes. The idea behind the addition of some of the ministers was to provide a counter-balance to Ben-Gvir and Smotrich who are considered to be more hawkish in their diplomatic and security positions.

 MK Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the Otzma Yehudit political party surrouned visits in Beit Orot, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of At-Tur, October 13, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) MK Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the Otzma Yehudit political party surrouned visits in Beit Orot, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of At-Tur, October 13, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Traditionally, the security cabinet regularly meets – sometimes weekly – to discuss key ongoing IDF, Mossad or Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operations as well as tough diplomatic matters, such as settlement construction in the West Bank.

Frequent participants include the IDF chief of staff, the head of Military Intelligence, the head of the Mossad, head of the Shin Bet, director-general of the Foreign Ministry, as well as additional government and security officials needed on a case-by-case basis.

Netanyahu's key allies in the cabinet will include Deri who has been said to be one of the more thoughtful and level-headed ministers in diplomatic-security debates in the past. Dermer is also expected to play a key role due to his close relationship with the prime minister and his expertise when it comes to the US-Israel relationship.

In the past, Netanyahu has also created smaller decision-making or consultation forums. In 2010, for example, he created a sub cabinet to the security cabinet that was called the “group of eight” and would meet regularly to discuss Israeli preparations for a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.