Netanyahu moves to boost his power over Israeli cabinet

By Ben Hartman, August 16, 2012

On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved procedural changes that will give Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu greater sway over ministerial decisions.

The changes will allow Mr Netanyahu to order or cancel ministerial committee meetings, veto committee decisions and overturn ministerial committee vetoes.

The move will, in effect, allow Mr Netanyahu to call repeatedly for a ministerial vote on an issue until it is passed.

The measures represent the first changes to cabinet procedures since the founding of the state.
Opposition head and Labour Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich told Reshet Bet radio that the decision threatens Israeli democracy.

She added: “It’s also possible to stop holding cabinet meetings, give up the Knesset, maybe even elections and really give 100 per cent total governing power to the prime minister.”

Rafi Shamir, an official at the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the cabinet vote “dealt with technical issues that have been misrepresented in the press”. With regard to claims that the vote was a power grab by Mr Netanyahu ahead of a possible war with Iran, Mr Shamir said any such assertion had “no basis in reality”.

Last updated: 12:14pm, August 16 2012