Netanyahu: Israel Needs to Govern Like Trump, Make More Political Appointments

Prime minister complains to his cabinet about a requirement to use search committees to name senior officials. The Trump administration will have 4,000 political appointees and Israel could use just a few hundred, he adds.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting on December 11, 2016.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting on December 11, 2016.Credit: ABIR SULTAN/AP

The prime minister and other cabinet members should be able to make more political appointments, similar to the way it is done in the United States, to ensure that professional officials carry out government policy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. 

Donald Trump can make 4,000 political appointments, said Netanyahu, according to a minister who was present.

"We need a few hundred appointments here that do not require a tender. What is certain is that with Trump, the officials will carry out his policy. Here, too we need to be able to govern," said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu made his comments during a discussion on the appointment of deputy attorney generals, in which an argument ensued over whether their designations should be limited to six years or eight years.

As in other instances in recent years, the cabinet debate devolved into a discussion of the status of professional staff in government ministries.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz and Interior Minister Arye Dery complained in turn that find it difficult to appoint and fire senior officials because of a requirement to establish search committees beforehand. 

Netanyahu complained, too, about the problem, saying the organizational memory of the civil service needs to be at the more junior levels, while ministers must be able to appoint people they trust without tenders to more senior positions.   

"They won't let us run the country," Netanyahu said. "The fact is the [IDF] chief of staff is not appointed by a search committee and the police commissioner is not appointed by a search committee. In the police and army it works the right way." 

At the end of the meeting, Netanyahu announced that a panel headed by his confidant Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, would present a proposal to the cabinet for changing the search committees involved in the naming of senior officials.

Dery and Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant were also named to the committee.

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