In an expected move, the Knesset on Wednesday, 24 Iyar, approved the controversial bill permitting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to expand his cabinet. This is necessary to satisfy all the coalition partners.
Amid calls from opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, who accused PM Netanyahu of “selling out the country”, the bill passed in a 61-59 vote. Harsh criticism was heard from other members of the opposition as well, including former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who said the new government lacks “a future, hope and void of dreams”.
Nevertheless, despite the angry shouts of frustration, the bill did pass and now the prime minister is armed with the ability to appoint more than 18 ministers and satisfy the demands from his party as well as the coalition partners, permitting him to appoint 22 ministers, including ministers without portfolio. The bill in essence amended the Basic Law which limited the number of ministers to 18 as per the vote in the previous Knesset spearheaded by the Yesh Atid party.
Immediately following the passing of the bill Mr. Netanyahu met with senior Likud officials as they await word regarding Likud ministerial appointments. Mr. Netanyahu will make the official announcements on Wednesday as he is hoping to have his new cabinet sworn in a Thursday, 25 Iyar.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)