Tzipi Hotovely will serve as Israel’s first minister from the religious Zionist camp.
By World Israel News Staff
On Monday, Israel made history when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Tzipi Hotovely as it’s first female religious Zionist to serve in a ministerial position as Diaspora Affairs Minister.
The move is considered controversial by those who took issue with Tzipi Hotovely’s 2017 comment that American Jews lead “convenient lives.”
Netanyahu also announced on Monday his choices to fill the open social welfare and agriculture ministerial positions.
Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzahi Hanegbi will be taking the agriculture portfolio, and MK Ofir Akunis will receive the social welfare portfolio, in addition to his current position as Minister of Science and Technology.
Originally, Netanyahu tried to give the agriculture position to Likud MK David Bitan. However, Bitan withdrew his name from consideration after his appointment was indefinitely delayed following a High Court of Justice ruling on Jan 11. that questioned the authority of a caretaker government to make cabinet appointments.
“As opposed to a government that enjoys the trust of the Knesset, which grants it clear freedom of action in everything regarding the appointment of a minister, an interim government must refrain from enacting changes to its composition when such a step is not required for the correct functioning [of the government],” the High Court said in a statement at the time.
“There is a need for moderation, and there is a suspicion that the government will act for political gain, and for this reason, it is preferable to avoid such appointments,” the statement added.
Bitan may have withdrawn his candidacy due to his legal troubles. He has been seen as a controversial political figure ever since the State Prosecution Service recommended last March that he be charged with multiple counts of bribery following a two-year investigation. The corruption charges date to his time as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion and as Likud MK and coalition whip, a six-year span between 2011-2017.