Netanyahu Granted Authority to Declare War 'In Extreme Situations' With Only Defense Minister's Approval

Though committee rejected the bill, which would allow Netanyahu to declare war in extreme situations with approval by only the defense minister, Knesset votes in favor

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves the room after a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen
\ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

The Knesset voted late Monday in favor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to grant him the authority to declare war with only the defense minister's approval in extreme situations.

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Netanyahu made the request in the morning during a debate on a bill aimed at transferring responsibility for declaring war from the full cabinet to the smaller security cabinet. The joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee rejected his request but it was later voted for by the Knesset plenum.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter brought the proposal to another vote during the second and third readings of the bill Monday night in the plenum.

The bill was submitted in response to recommendations by the Amidror Committee that examined the functioning of the security cabinet, and was aimed at codifying a situation that has in any case prevailed since the First Lebanon War in 1982. The version of the bill brought Monday night to a vote in the Knesset states that the security cabinet will be authorized to make a decision on launching war or significant military operations without specifying the makeup of the panel that makes the decision.