Here is a list of ministers and jobs without which, it seems, Israel's government cannot do: Gila Gamliel, deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office for women's and youth Affairs; Michael Eitan, minister in charge of improving government service to the citizenry via the Internet; Ayoob Kara, deputy minister for the Galilee; Moshe Ya'alon, minister without portfolio (without portfolio!) for strategic affairs; Avishay Braverman, minister of minorities; Meshulam Nahari, minister in the Prime Minister's Office.
We could go on, but you get the point. Benjamin Netanyahu is starting his second stint as prime minister very lamely. As finance minister, he forced through aggressive moves to rehabilitate the economy, but this morning he's presenting the most scandalously swollen cabinet Israel has ever known.
Netanyahu's cabinet will have 29 or 30 ministers, seven without portfolio, as well as seven deputy ministers. The final number depends, among other things, on the job Silvan Shalom gets. The Netanyahu government is so huge that the Knesset carpenters were alerted yesterday to build another cabinet bench.
He split existing portfolios and invented new ones to satisfy his colleagues at the expense of the taxpayer. Thus around the round table we will find Yossi Peled, minister without portfolio. What will he do, exactly? And what will Benny Begin and Dan Meridor do, with their imaginary portfolios? Yuli Edelstein alone refused to be a minister without portfolio. Thanks are also due to Moshe Kahlon, who refused to split the Communications Ministry into "telecommunications" and "media." Kahlon's refusal spares us the expense of dozens of secretaries and officials that we don't need.
He was also creative in spinning deputy ministerial positions out of nothing. The status of women and the young are surely important subjects, but instead of depositing the topic with a minister such as Limor Livnat, who doesn't exactly have her hands full as minister of culture and sport, he created the new position for Gila Gamliel. And can't incoming industry minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer manage without a deputy?
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