Netanyahu's government sustained no small number of barbs for having too many ministers. However, the cabinet has recently become smaller – not because the number of ministers has decreased, but because the ministers themselves have been shedding excess weight after starting an exercise and diet regime.
It all started when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who himself suffers from being overweight, instructed that puffed pastries and high-calorie baked goods be removed from the menu during cabinet meetings and that healthier fare be offered in their stead.
The prime minister did not stop here, and, together with his cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser, started preaching to the ministers to limit their food intake and increase their physical activity.
Many of the ministers took his advice to heart, and results were soon to show. Anyone following the transportation minister in recent months surely noticed he has slimmed down significantly. With the help of a fitness plan that includes 50 minutes of vigorous walking five times a week and removing sweets from his diet, Minister Yisrael Katz dropped 30 kg (66 lbs).
Yedioth Ahronoth investigated the weight-loss achievements of the rest of the cabinet ministers. Prime Minister Netanyahu dropped 5 kg (11 lbs). He did so by maintaining a balanced diet with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and that includes only diet drinks. He can be seen munching on lettuce and carrots during cabinet meetings.
In addition, Netanyahu jogs twice a week on a treadmill. He would prefer to run in nature, but doesn't want streets to be closed due to the security detail this would necessitate.
Exercising ministersDefense Minister Ehud Barak, who put on some weight in recent years, dropped 6 kg (13 lbs) by making cutbacks in his diet and walking twice a week in the evenings with his wife.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman shed 15 kg (33 lbs) in the past year by playing a lot of tennis. His party-mate, Minister Stas Misezhnikov, got rid of 6 kg (13 lbs) mainly through gym workouts and making small adjustments to his food intake. Until the age of 12, Misezhnikov played soccer in the kid's league of FC Dynamo Moscow, but now makes do with informal games in his neighborhood field.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz recently lost weight by eating well and participating in a weekly soccer game. Minority Affairs Minister Avishai Braverman is careful about what he eats and brings a sack of nuts to work everyday. He, too, slimmed down recently, as did Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat.
Minister Yuli Edelstein, even though he is not overweight, maintains a regular fitness regime of jogging twice a week and the occasional game of table tennis. In order to keep his figure, he avoids fatty foods and eats a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon also keeps in shape by riding a hand bicycle. He suffered from a hip injury which prohibits him from riding a standard bicycle.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai gained 3 kg (6 lbs) after he broke his foot and needed to be in a cast. Thanks to a healthy diet, he has already lost 2 kg (4 lbs). Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen recently lost 15 kg (33 lbs).
All together the cabinet ministers have shed dozens of kilograms. Before cabinet meetings, compliments fly around the table.
You may be wondering about Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer who has suffered from being overweight for years. He has recently started another diet, but has yet to see results.