ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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TV report: Netanyahu, Ohana seeking to oust apolitical Knesset secretary-general

Transportation Minister Miri Regev’s pick for ministry’s director-general rejected by vetting committee, but she vows to move ahead with nomination regardless

New Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (top) and new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulate each other as the new government is sworn in, in Jerusalem, December 29, 2022. (Amir Cohen/Pool/AFP)
New Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (top) and new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulate each other as the new government is sworn in, in Jerusalem, December 29, 2022. (Amir Cohen/Pool/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana are reportedly seeking to replace the current Knesset secretary-general, an apolitical administrative position in the parliament.

If they move ahead with such a move, it would mark the first time in history that a Knesset secretary-general has been ousted from their job.

According to a Wednesday report by Channel 12 news, Netanyahu and Ohana believe that the current Knesset secretary-general, Dan Marzuk, is too aligned with the opposition Yesh Atid party, and they want instead to install a loyalist in the job.

Marzuk, who was appointed and approved by the last government, took over the position last year after Yardena Meller-Horowitz retired following 13 years in the role.

The job of secretary-general is to oversee and manage parliamentary activities, such as plenum meetings, and it has never been seen as a political role.

As the government’s new ministers settle into their jobs, most are selecting new directors-general for their ministries, replacing the officials who served under the last ministers.

Dan Marzuk. (Adina Walman/Knesset Spokesperson)

Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he tapped former Likud MK Osnat Mark to serve as his ministry’s director-general.

Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Miri Regev is gearing up for a fight after her decision to nominate a political confidant, Moshe Ben-Zaken, as the ministry’s director was rejected by a state vetting panel.

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.

In a statement, Regev said she nevertheless intended to bring the nomination to the government on Sunday, and criticized the committee’s decision.

Likud MK Miri Regev speaks at a campaign event in Jerusalem, September 11, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Ben Zaken meets all of the conditions, he is a professional, experienced and worthy nominee,” said Regev. “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,” she added.

Regev noted that the new government has vowed that it has “come to govern,” and said that approving Ben Zaken is “an important test for all members of the government, and I expect his appointment to be confirmed unanimously.”

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