Rabbi approves Litzman's appointment as deputy Health Minister

Likud promises a position for Litzman supporter as adviser for haredi affairs in the Prime Minister's Office.

Litzman 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Litzman 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The head of the Ger Hassidic Sect, Rabbi Ya'acov Alter, approved on Monday MK Ya'acov Litzman's appointment as health minister, according to Litzman's spokesman. Litzman will have all the powers of a full-fledged minister, but will be called a deputy minister so he can refrain from taking part in cabinet decisions. Since 1953, when Agudat Yisrael's Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Levine stepped down as Social Affairs Minister, Ashkenazi haredi MKs have refrained from being appointed ministers for religious reasons. Being a member of the cabinet is seen as having collective responsibility for decisions that are opposed to Halacha, such as the desecration of Shabbat. In addition to the Health portfolio, the Likud also promised Litzman a position for one of his supporters as adviser for haredi affairs in the Prime Minister's Office. On Sunday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office announced that Litzman had accepted the position of deputy health minister. "Litzman has headed the Knesset Finance Committee in the past and has extensive financial and organizational experience," the announcement read. In an interview with Channel 2, Litzman said he was looking forward to learning about his ministry before making key decisions. "As a former head of the Finance Committee, I understand the health system," Litzman said. "I see it as a challenge. I took this job because there was pressure on me from doctors and health officials who said my experience was necessary to help stabilize the health system." Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.