Basic Law changes demanded by Smotrich and Deri okayed for final votes Monday

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Basic Law changes demanded by the leaders of Religious Zionism and Shas have been approved for their final Knesset floor readings, which will take place on Monday. The reforms must pass two readings to become law, which they are widely expected to do after already passing a first reading.

Presented as preconditions for swearing in the government under incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the legislative changes will enable appointing Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich as an independent Defense Ministry minister in charge of West Bank settlement and Palestinian construction.

It would also pave the way for Shas’s Aryeh Deri to lead the Interior and Health ministries, despite his recent suspended sentence for tax fraud.

A second bill, demanded by incoming national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir to expand political control over Israel’s police, is still being debated by a special committee, in anticipation of being approved for its second and third floor readings.

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