Legislation advances paving way for Litzman's return to government
Ministerial Committee for Legislation approves government bill proposal that would allow the prime minister to give a deputy minister the same authorities as a minister, allowing UTJ MK Litzman to return to the helm of the Health Ministry without having to be a full member of the government.
Litzman resigned as health minister in late November over government-approved train works done on Shabbat, leading to a crisis with the Haredi parties in the coalition.
The bill, which was proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, seeks to resolve the crisis by restoring Litzman to the helm of the Health Ministry as a deputy minister with the same powers and authorities as a minister. It will be brought to the Knesset for a first reading vote on Monday.
The legislation is the result of a 2015 ruling by the High Court of Justice that determined the arrangement according to which Litzman was able to serve as a deputy minister with ministerial powers was illegal. This left Litzman with no choice but to take on the position of minister.
While Sephardic Haredi government members, such as Shas's Aryeh Deri, have and do serve as ministers, there has not been an Ashkenazi minister in decades, until Litzman's recent tenure.
This was due to a religious decree by leading Ashkenazi rabbis that forbade its leaders from accepting a ministerial position, as it would formally mean they would support and take responsibility for all of the government's decisions—including such decisions that go against their beliefs, such as government-sanctioned works done on Shabbat.