Rebranding of Ben Gvir’s police ministry to cost between NIS 2-3 million
Ministers to vote Sunday to change name of Public Security Ministry to National Security Ministry, as demanded by far-right leader; cabinet also to approve several senior officials
Renaming the Public Security Ministry to the National Security Ministry as demanded by one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition partners will cost NIS 2-3 million ($570,000-$855,000), according to a copy of the proposal published Friday by Israeli television.
The government is expected to vote on the name change at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, turning far-right Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir into national security minister. The ministry has oversight of police and under the coalition deal between Netanyahu’s Likud party and Otzma Yehudit will also be given control over Border Police in the West Bank.
The copy of the measure said the money for the rebranding will come out of the ministry’s existing budget.
Ministers are also expected to approve the appointment of several senior officials, including Yehuda Fuchs as cabinet secretary and Tzachi Hanegbi as national security adviser. Fuchs, an attorney, ran in the November 1 election on Likud’s slate but did not make it into the Knesset, while Hanegbi is a longtime former Likud lawmaker.
Additionally, Channel 12 news reported that the cabinet will discuss the appointment of Moshe Ben-Zaken as director-general of the Transportation Ministry, despite his nomination being rejected by a state vetting panel due to his past as a political operative.
The Senior Appointments Advisory Committee cited Ben-Zaken’s past as a political operative in turning him down for the job. While the committee’s recommendations are not binding, the government rarely goes against them.
However, Transportation Minister Miri Regev has vowed to go through with the appointment and pressed Netanyahu to add Ben-Zaken’s nomination to the agenda of the upcoming cabinet meeting, according to the network, which did not specify whether ministers would vote on the appointment or merely deliberate it.
“Ben-Zaken meets all of the conditions, he is a professional, experienced and worthy nominee,” Regev, a member of Likud, said in a statement Wednesday. “Officials, however senior they may be, cannot override the decision of an elected minister on who to appoint to her most senior position of trust.”
Along with Regev’s nomination of Ben-Zaken, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis raised eyebrows this week when he tapped former Likud MK Osnat Mark to serve as his ministry’s director-general.