Super-Sharon to the rescue: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has decided to postpone the vote on replacements for Labor party ministers who quit the government, instead opting to grant six portfolios to one man – himself.
With the move, Sharon will now be in charge the Ministries of Religious Affairs, National Infrastructure, Interior, Environment, Housing, Science and Technology, as well as the areas previously handled by Vice Premier Shimon Peres and Minister without portfolio Haim Ramon.
According to Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson, Sharon decided to postpone Sunday’s planned vote on new ministerial appointments after Attorney General Menachem Mazuz advised him there was no sense appointing replacements before the government officially becomes a provisional government, at which time Knesset members can be appointed as deputy ministers.
Sharon: Hizbullah threats serious
Hizbullah threats to abduct soldiers on Israel’s northern border should be taken seriously, Sharon told the cabinet during Sunday’s government session.
Responding to comments by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who addressed repeated Hizbullah attempts to escalate the situation in the north, Sharon said the army must maintain its high alert on the northern border.
“We must deploy to prevent this (abductions of soldiers) at all cost,” the prime minister said. “They (Hizbullah) mean what they say and we must prepare accordingly.”
Notably, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently said the group had a ‘right and duty’ to kidnap Israeli troops.
On another front, security authorities are concerned about the prospect of an upcoming terror attack, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told ministers Sunday.
Mofaz told ministers about 15 terror warnings regarding a possible attack and 40 pieces of information about such prospect. The minister also warned about international terrorists’ plans to carry out attacks in Israel
Who will replace Labor party ministers?
Sharon was expected submit to the cabinet Sunday the list of designated replacements for Labor party ministers who quit the government, but as noted above has decided to delay the move.
Former Likud members Ronnie Bar-On and Ze’ev Boim, who joined the PM’s new party, have been mentioned as possible replacements, as were several deputy ministers. The new ministers will serve in their new posts until election time.
Meanwhile, Likud ministers are still debating whether to object to the new replacements, who are expected to come from Sharon’s new faction. As things stand at this time, it appears the Likud ministers would not be objecting when the vote comes around.
“There’s no sense to object, this government is done regardless,” one Likud minister told Ynet. “It’s better for us to abstain and display national responsibility.”