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Housing Minister Yitzhak Cohen resigns after less than a month in post

Shas MK says he wants to focus fully on his role as deputy minister in the Treasury; reports suggest he was unhappy with arrangement effectively making him Litzman’s deputy

Shas Member of the Knesset Yitzhak Cohen attends a faction meeting at the home of the Torah Sages Council president, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, in Jerusalem, on October 31, 2016 (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)
Shas Member of the Knesset Yitzhak Cohen attends a faction meeting at the home of the Torah Sages Council president, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, in Jerusalem, on October 31, 2016 (Yaakov Cohen/Flash90)

Housing Minister Yitzhak Cohen of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party resigned from his position Thursday, less than a month after his appointment, saying he cannot run the ministry and carry out his duties as a deputy minister in the Treasury at the same time.

“Due to the economic challenges facing the State of Israel these days, which are expected to persist in the near future… I believe I should dedicate all of my time and experience to my activities in the Finance Ministry,” Cohen said in his letter of resignation, which will take effect on Sunday.

The appointment had been intended as largely symbolic, with United Torah Judaism’s Yaakov Litzman reportedly meant to run the ministry in practice while technically serving as deputy minister.

Several Hebrew media reports said that Cohen’s resignation comes out of frustration with effectively serving as Litzman’s puppet.

According to a report last month, Litzman, who resigned from the cabinet and his post as housing minister in September over the government’s coronavirus policies, won’t return to the cabinet as deputy housing minister due to opposition from his rabbi.

Litzman — the former health minister — had long threatened to resign if the lockdown plan was approved, and had also said his United Torah Judaism party could bolt the coalition. He did quit, on September 13, but his party did not.

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