President Reuven Rivlin, center, meets with Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Benny Gantz before the new agreement was announced

Wanted: A non-bloated, non-bankrupt government

Opinion: While the coronavirus epidemic ravages the global economy, it is up to a nation's leaders to show fiscal and moral responsibility; in Israel though, the heads of state have seized the opportunity to promote their own interests

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 03.30.20, 10:46
Most Israelis support a unity government - even those who voted for Benny Gantz because of his pledge to not join a government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu know that this is the only way to go.
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  • But there is simply no excuse whatsoever to form a massively bloated government of 30 ministers - as opposed to the previous government of 22.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ריבלין נתניהו וגנץ
    ריבלין נתניהו וגנץ
    President Reuven Rivlin, center, meets with Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Benny Gantz before the new agreement was announced
    (Photo: GPO)
    These are dog days; the coronavirus has created a state of global emergency, creating one of the worst economic crises Israel and the world have ever known.
    With almost one million unemployed, both those who have been laid off and those forced on unpaid leave have turned to the country's leadership and are wondering why is there such an overabundance of ministers.
    There are already thousands of families where both partners have lost their livelihoods and this is precisely the time a government needs to reduce costs in order to aid them.
    What do we have instead? A coalition with a record number of redundant ministers, with each one receiving a hefty salary from the state coffers. Is this really how you create trust?
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    שלט חוצות
    שלט חוצות
    A banner in Ramat Gan calls on Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Liberman and Benny Gantz to 'take off your masks, the people want unity'
    (Photo: AP)
    Israel's first government had just 12 ministers, but that number has grown and grown as the years went by. The unity government of the 80s had 25-26 ministers; Ariel Sharon’s 2001 government had 28 ministers; and Netanyahu’s 2009 government also had 30 ministers.
    Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party won 19 seats in the 2013 elections, one of his first demands was a government of just 18 ministers, although he ended up compromising on 23 ministers, while in the last government there were 22 ministers.
    Where are we when compared to Europe? Well, Germany has 14 ministers, France has 18, Italy 21 and Spain 22. In fact, I am doubtful there is one country in Europe with 30 ministers.
    Yesh Atid’s demand for an 18-minister government found its way on Blue & White agenda too, but has anybody heard Gantz make this demand in order to save money in a time of turmoil?
    Gantz’s Bue & White has just 17 MKs (15 for his Israel Resilience party and 2 for the new Derekh Eretz party that is aligned to it) though it seems that his party will receive 15 minister roles.
    It is baffling that Gantz doesn't see this as absurd, and all the more so during these times of trouble.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בני גנץ יאיר לפיד
    בני גנץ יאיר לפיד
    Benny Gantz and former political partner Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    If Gantz does indeed support this exaggerated number of ministers, he won’t be able to say it was necessary or inevitable, because we all know that the opposite is true: during an emergency that creates economic difficulties, it is up to the government to lead by example and cut costs.
    Gantz promised us a new way in politics; you can understand or even justify one broken promise, but there is no excuse, no explanation and no understanding for an extravagant overly bloated government in which almost every MK from Gantz’s party is a minister.
    The coming days will see numerous discussions regarding the formation of the unity government and naturally the number of ministers will come up.
    It is up to Gantz , who oa debt to his voters, to prove that a unity government is a necessity and not moral bankruptcy on his part.
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