Netanyahu retreats on Justice Ministry appointment

Netanyahu has decided not to dig in his heels on the matter.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing strong headwinds after appointing a new justice minister, reversed course on Wednesday and agreed to appoint coalition partner and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to the role.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu caused a small political storm when he announced without prior warning at a cabinet meeting that he would appoint Likud MK Ofir Akunis as the new justice minister. In a vote, the decision was approved. However, not before a shouting match took place and over the objections of Gantz and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who called the appointment illegal.

Mandelblit based his claim on an “equality” agreement reached between Gantz and Netanyahu when the government first formed back in May 2020, in which cabinet positions would be split evenly between the sides. Netanyahu and the Likud argued that the agreement is no longer in force as the government has become a “transitional government.”

Following the cabinet meeting, the Supreme Court held an emergency session and put a temporary freeze on Akunis’ appointment. They demanded that Netanyahu justify by 11:00 a.m. Wednesday why the appointment should not be canceled permanently.

Netanyahu has decided not to dig in his heels on the matter. The decision to appoint Gantz will brought before the government later Wednesday, Netanyahu said.