Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew ire from some Israeli lawmakers on Sunday after reshuffling the coronavirus cabinet from 16 minister to just 10, leaving several high-profile ministers out of the revamped line-up.
Housing and Construction Minister Yaakov Litzman, Education Minister Yoav Galant, Transportation Minister Miri Regev, Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen, Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli and Tourism Minister Assaf Zamir have all been axed from the cabinet tasked with battling the pandemic.
Netanyahu's decision to rearrange the cabinet prompted furious feedback from several of its former members, primarily Galant and Litzman, who heads the United Torah Judaism party.
"I will not accept this, I am a head of a political party and a former health minister," said Litzman before storming out of the government meeting.
While both Litzman and Galant are no longer members of the cabinet, they are invited to attend all of the cabinet's meetings as observers and advisors.
Cohen (Blue & White, protested the lack of female representation in the new cabinet. "I am not necceserally talking about myself, but why are there no women in the cabinet at all?" she said.
"I also sometimes ask myself in the middle of the night why is the traffic light red," said Netanyahu in response to Cohen's question. "There are many things that make no sense."
Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata (Blue & White), also said the lack of female representation in the cabinet is problematic. "Female presence in the coronavirus cabinet is of great importance, female leadership should be present in each and every committee," she said. "I am sure that Gantz will work to rectify this situation."
The new cabinet will be able to make executive decisions without the Knesset approval, while the step to impose a general lockdown will remain under the exclusive authority of the government.
According to the official statement, the new cabinet will "concentrate on various aspects of the state's exit strategy from the health crisis, including addressing issues of employment, economic aid for the small-business sector and the self-employed ... and taking any other actions needed deal with the recession that hit the Israeli economy."
The coronavirus cabinet hasn't convened in a month, after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit ruled the cabinet does not have the authority to impose restrictions on movements without the government and the Knesset's approval.