Photo: New Media Likud
Bennett and Netanyahu
Photo: New Media Likud

Netanyahu coalition to repeal limit on size of government

Incoming government seeks to pass bill allowing unlimited appointments of ministers and deputies, claiming proposal will not affect budget despite expected costs in tens of millions of shekels.

A minister earns more than an ordinary member of Knesset and is entitled to aides, secretaries, a driver, and the other pleasant benefits which cost the taxpayers tens of millions of shekels.



Yet this has not prevent the incoming coalition from claiming that its efforts to expand the size of the government – allowing it to appoint an unlimited number of ministers and deputies and reinstate institution of 'minister without portfolio' – will not affect the state budget.


Kahlon and Netanyahu in Jerusalem
Kahlon and Netanyahu in Jerusalem


In the previous Knesset, Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid led the legislative proposal to limit the number of ministers to 18 and the number of deputies to four.


Now the alliance of Likud leader Netanyahu, Kulanu's Kahlon, and Bayit Yehudi chief Naftali Bennett with the ultra-Orthodox factions – with a narrow majority of 61 MKs – wish to temporarily revoke the limitation.


Ynet breaks down the key issues in the proposal to be presented to the Knesset on Monday.


1. In briefings to the press, Netanyahu's team claimed that in the initial phase, the government will grow from the current 18-minister limit up to 20. However, the bill does not ask to increase the restriction by two ministers, but to repeal it entirely, allowing the government to appoint as many ministers as it wished.


Additionally, the government is seeking to cancel the limit on the appointment of deputy ministers – which will in turn increase the elevated MKs' expenses. "The appointment of deputy ministers assists the government in its work, as they support the ministers in the fulfillment of their government and Knesset duties," says the proposal.


2. The legislation aims to repeal the restriction placed by the 19th Knesset on the appointment of ministers without portfolio. With the passage of the new bill, the formerly-reformed form of political cronyism would be reinstated.


A minister without portfolio is among the most wasteful institutions in the government. It was initially intended to allow for the appointment of expensive 'vanity' positions meant to secure support of necessary factions.


3. In one of the most problematic clauses of the bill, its proponents claim that it will not affect the Israeli economy and that proposal's budget is "irrelevant."


Meaning, despite the expected costs to the economy of spending tens of millions of shekels from state coffers on additional ministers, new offices, a large amount of support staff – the government is claiming to the Knesset that the bill is entirely irrelevant to the state budget.


4. According to the proposal, the government sees the repeal as an "urgent necessity". For this reason, it has cut through the legislative procedure using emergency protocols to evade any accountability to the Knesset over the bill.


As part of the extraordinary measures employed by Netanyahu, he has asked to finish the legislation process in a single day – a rarity usually reserved for declarations of war. The bill's proponents explain that the "urgency" was based on the need to allow the 34th government to begin its duties as soon as possible.


פרסום ראשון: 05.09.15, 20:00
 new comment
This will delete your current comment