Attorney General: 'Netanyahu Can Hold Many Cabinet Posts, as Long as It's Temporary'

Netanyahu will ask cabinet on Sunday to formally approve his role as defense minister on Sunday ■ The prime minister currently holds defense, immigration, health and foreign ministry portfolios

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, December 11, 2018.
Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will ask the cabinet on Sunday to formally approve his role as defense minister. The appointment will also have to be ratified by the Knesset. 

Netanyahu has also committed to naming an immigration minister within the week and a foreign minister by no later than January.

Netanyahu has held an extraordinary number of cabinet posts since Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defense minister and Sofa Landver’s departure as immigration minister, which came with the departure of their party, Yisrael Beiteinu, from the governing coalition last month.

In addition to the defense and immigration posts he has also held onto the health and foreign ministry positions, alongside deputy ministers also serving in these ministries.

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The proposal being brought to the cabinet includes an opinion written by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit in light of recent appeals to the Supreme Court by the Yesh Atid party and MK Leah Fadida (Zionist Union) against Netanyahu holding on to too many cabinet posts.

Mendelblit wrote that holding on to many portfolios is possible if it is a temporary measure, as the prime minister has said before.

According to Mendelblit, the current situation “is expected to last for a short interim, and set period and after broad consideration given by the prime minister and the government concerning the composition of the cabinet and in light of the need to permit the prime minister and the government a brief but reasonable permit for reorganizing the government in light of the unexpected resignations of the defense and immigration ministers, we can say that the legal situation is temporary, and for a limited period, then it’s permissible from a legal standpoint.”