Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing to transfer the authority to declare war from the government to the narrower Security Cabinet, Channel 2 reported Monday.
The report said that the Justice Ministry has been instructed to begin drafting an amendment to the Basic Law: Government, to be introduced to the Knesset as soon as the summer recess is over.
Sources said the goal of the move is to prevent leaks.
Reactions to the proposal were mixed and did not fall along the usual opposition-government divide. Netanyahu’s challenger Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called it “correct and professional,” while his coalition ally Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the report was a “non-story.”
On the other hand, Meretz leader Zehava Galon noted on Twitter that every commission of inquiry in Israel’s history “has pointed to the making of decisions without debate in the cabinet as a central cause of failures” and added that “after the state comptroller laid out that Operation Protective Edge was carried out with zero serious deliberation in the Security Cabinet, Netanyahu’s conclusion is to do away with the Cabinet altogether?”
Galon then added a dig at Netanyahu’s ongoing legal troubles, writing that “perhaps the next thing (Netanyahu will ask for) is the right to spend billions of shekels on submarines without the approval of the defense minister?”
The report follows on the heels of the 2016 Amidror Commission, appointed by Netanyahu at the behest of Bennett. Bennett was sharply critical of the Security Cabinet’s decision-making during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, criticism that was echoed earlier this year in the state comptroller’s report into the incursion. The investigative body was instructed to recommend ways to improve intelligence-sharing amongst members of the Security Cabinet and was headed by former National Security Council head Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror.
Channel 2 said the amendment likely has its origins in a 2010 move by Prime Minister Netanyahu and then-defense minister Ehud Barak, who had reportedly drawn up plans to attack Iran but were said to have been blocked by then-Mossad director Meir Dagan and then-IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi, who refused to carry out the plans because the request was illegal without Cabinet approval.
Article reprinted with permission from TPS.