Likud MK Ayoub Kara to become Israel’s first Druze minister
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Likud MK Ayoub Kara to become Israel’s first Druze minister

Netanyahu expected to nominate longtime member of party a minister without portfolio in latest cabinet reshuffle

Likud member Ayoub Kara arrives for a meeting at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on December 30, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Likud member Ayoub Kara arrives for a meeting at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on December 30, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly promote Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara to minister without portfolio, as part of a cabinet reshuffle ahead of a High Court of Justice decision on the legality of the prime minister’s holding of multiple ministerial posts.

The nomination of Kara, a Druze-Israeli and longtime member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, is expected to be approved by the cabinet on Sunday, the Haaretz daily reported on Wednesday.

If appointed, Kara would become the first lawmaker from Israel’s Druze community to serve as minister.

Netanyahu confidant Tzachi Hanegbi was appointed Minister of Regional Cooperation last month.

Kara has been lobbying for a ministerial post since the formation of the coalition in 2015 and especially since Hanegbi took over the regional cooperation post as minister. Kara said in an interview earlier this month in The Marker that he “doesn’t understand why he doesn’t appoint me as minister. It’s in his interest before it’s in mine. I don’t understand and can’t explain.”

In further cabinet reshuffle moves, Kulanu MK Eli Cohen will reportedly be nominated as Economy Minister, taking the post from fellow party member and finance minister Moshe Kahlon.

The opposition Yesh Atid party last year submitted a petition to the High Court against the number of portfolios that Netanyahu had reserved for himself at the time: health, regional cooperation, communications and foreign affairs, as well as the prime ministership.

The court ruled 4-1 that the prime minister could continue holding all four portfolios, but three justices gave the prime minister eight months to reduce the load, saying they might review the situation if he did not, Haaretz reported at the time.

The justices said that it was hard to believe that Netanyahu could properly manage so many ministries and that the situation was not appropriate in a democracy.

Soon afterwards, Netanyahu gave the health portfolio to Yaakov Litzman of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party.

The prime minister retains the communications and foreign ministry posts.

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