Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
significantly lessened his workload Wednesday, naming three new ministers and effectively moving 10 ministerial portfolios off his shoulders.
The cabinet, at a special session Wednesday, approved the appointment of MK Roni Bar-On as both national infrastructure and science minister; MK Ze'ev Boim
as both construction and housing and agriculture minister; and MK Ya'acov Edri as health minister and the minister in charge of Negev and Galilee Development.
In addition, the cabinet also redistributed four other ministries among existing ministers: Tzipi Livni
, who is presently both the justice and absorption minister, is now also the country's foreign minister; Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit is now also education minister; Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra
received the environment portfolio; and Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson
will now also be Israel's
These appointments and redistributions still leave Olmert in charge of the finance, interior, industry and trade, and social welfare ministries.
"Our intention is to efficiently continue the work of government in all ministries," Olmert said. "The Government must provide services, make decisions and manage all systems in an orderly fashion; this is what we are doing and what we will continue to do. Bringing in the new ministers and redistributing portfolios to existing ministers will enable us to do so in the best possible way."
Olmert called on the ministers not to make any new appointments or changes in the senior staff of the various ministries since the government is a transitional government until a new cabinet is formed following the March 28 elections.
"We have no reason to deal with appointments and I recommend that those holding senior positions - including ministry directors-general - continue to do so," he said. "This is not the time for appointments, not even to positions-of-confidence."