ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Week after his appointment, acting health minister hasn’t shown up for work – report

Yoav Ben-Tzur, a temporary appointment after Shas head Aryeh Deri was fired on High Court orders, hasn’t even been briefed by ministry officials

Nathan Jeffay is The Times of Israel's health and science correspondent

Yoav Ben-Tzur, acting health minister (right), with Aryeh Deri at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, on January 1, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yoav Ben-Tzur, acting health minister (right), with Aryeh Deri at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, on January 1, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The new health minister hasn’t reported for work, despite being in the job for a week, according to a Hebrew media report.

Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas party, was fired from his posts as health minister and interior minister on January 22 on the orders of the High Court, and fellow party MK Yoav Ben-Tzur was appointed in his place as acting minister two days later.

The High Court had ruled that granting Deri a cabinet post was “unreasonable in the extreme,” due to both his past criminal convictions and his ostensible promise last year to withdraw from political life as part of a plea bargain.

The  Walla reported on Monday that a week after Ben-Tzur’s appointment, he has not reported to ministry offices or been briefed by ministry officials. The outlet said some inside the ministry were expressing concern over the lack of a minister, particularly at a time when documents for the state budget and a change to medical internships are in the works.

The Health Ministry did not respond to a Times of Israel request to clarify the situation and a spokesperson for Ben-Tzur said: “There is no response from us on this matter.”

Acting ministers can only serve for three months, so Ben-Tzur’s appointment as such was widely interpreted as indicating that Deri hopes to soon return.

Netanyahu, Deri and other coalition heads have vowed that the Shas chairman will return as a minister.

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