Government approves new security cabinet, ministerial committee for coronavirus
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Government approves new security cabinet, ministerial committee for coronavirus

Security cabinet to include a record 16 members, will also have 4 nonvoting observers

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) attend a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L) attend a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (Abir Sultan/Pool/AFP)

Israel’s new government on Sunday approved the formation of a new security cabinet, which will include a record 16 members.

In its first regular meeting since it was sworn in earlier this month, the cabinet also greenlit the formation of a ministerial committee to address the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee will comprise 14 ministers and a number of senior officials will regularly be invited to its meetings. A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said this would include the head of the National Security Council, the director-general of the Health Ministry and the attorney general, among others.

Besides leading the government’s efforts to help Israel recover from the pandemic, the committee will deal with preparations for a potential second outbreak.

The formation of the committee was part of the coalition agreement reached last month between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and new Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, which put an end to over 500 days of political deadlock that left Israel without a fully functioning government.

With 35 ministers, including the prime minister, and set to later grow to 36, the new government is the largest in Israel’s history.

Under Israeli law, the security cabinet can have no more than half the number of ministers there are in the government. It can include additional ministers who are observers and can’t vote on cabinet decisions.

By law, the prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, finance minister, public security minister and justice minister must all be members of the security cabinet.

The following is a list of ministers who will sit on the security cabinet and the ministerial committee for dealing with the coronavirus:

Security cabinet

  1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud)
  2. Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White)
  3. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White)
  4. Finance Minister Israel Katz (Likud)
  5. Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (Likud)
  6. Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White)
  7. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud)
  8. Water Resources and Higher Education Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who will rotate as an observer with Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz every six months (Likud)
  9. Minister in the Defense Ministry Michael Biton (Blue and White)
  10. Education Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud)
  11. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas, allied with Likud’s bloc)
  12. Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz, allied with Blue and White’s bloc)
  13. Economy Minister Amir Peretz (Labor, allied with Blue and White)
  14. Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen (Blue and White)
  15. Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud)
  16. Agriculture Minister Alon Shuster (Blue and White)

Observers

  1. Minister Without Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud)
  2. Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen (Likud)
  3. Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz (Yamina, allied with Likud’s bloc)
  4. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who will rotate as a security cabinet member with Minister Ze’ev Elkin every six months (Likud)

Ministerial Committee for the Coronavirus

  1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — chairman (Likud)
  2. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein — acting chairman (Likud)
  3. Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White)
  4. Finance Minister Israel Katz (Likud)
  5. Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (Likud)
  6. Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (Blue and White)
  7. Education Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud)
  8. Economy Minister Amir Peretz (Labor)
  9. Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shai (Blue and White)
  10. Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli (Labor)
  11. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas)
  12. Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen (Blue and White)
  13. Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud)
  14. Tourism Minister Assaf Zamir (Blue and White)
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