The High Court on Tuesday 20 Tammuz heard the petition filed by Yesh Atid challenging the fact that the Ministry of Health is headed by a deputy minister and not a minister. In actuality, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is Minister of Health but the ministry is run by Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman, who maintains ministerial authority. Yesh Atid explained that the petition is not against Litzman per se but against the arrangement.
Five Justices heard the petition; President Miriam Naor, Elyakim Rubinstein, Chanan Meltzer, Salim Jubran and Neil Hendel.
The court suggested appointing Yaakov Litzman minster, explaining PM Netanyahu cannot serve as minister of health on a permanent basis while continuing to serve as prime minister. Justice Rubinstein added that the court will not seek to dictate to the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael, but the court suggests to Litzman to accept the ministerial appointment and by doing so, the matter will be resolved and he will continue running the ministry. The court explained that if a minister is removed the prime minister may hold the post as a temporary measure but not in a permanent capacity.
At present PM Netanyahu is the Minister of Communications, Health and Foreign Affairs in addition to heading the country. Yesh Atid is now going to amend the petition to compel the prime minister to unload the other cabinet posts by appointing people to the positions.
Justice Chanan Meltzer added the previous Basic Law had a paragraph stating a prime minister may also head other ministries but this has changed and that paragraph has been omitted. This means the prime minister may not continue serving as head of a number of ministries while serving as prime minister.
In an interview with the chareidi media a number of weeks ago, Litzman stated that he is waiting for the High Court to rule on the petition and then he will bring the court’s decision to the Moetzas Gedolei Yisrael of Agudas Yisrael for the ruling from admorim.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)