In order to get his government organized, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to increase the number of ministers in his government – if the High Court lets him. The MKs who are to constitute Netanyahu's government are on Monday set to increase the number of government ministers to 20, taking advantage of a loophole in a Basic Law amendment passed during the previous tenure of the Netanyahu government, which limited the number of ministers to 18.
But the expansion may not be so simple: Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid has already filed a motion against the expected approval of the enlarged ministerial staff, claiming that the current transition government is not empowered to change or update basic laws, even if it can muster the 61 votes needed to temporarily suspend the limit on 18 ministers, as the law prescribes.
In addition, the lawsuit contends that the coalition agreement provides for an unlawful distribution of funds by parties and specific MKs, distributions that the Attorney General has declared illegal. According to reports, numerous MKs in Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Jewish Home have been given specific sums, as much as NIS 20 million, to spend on projects.
The lawsuit calls the vote on expanding the number of ministers “a cynical move to change the rules in order to ensure the survival of the prime minister. He seeks to set a 'loyalty test' for MKs, even before the government has been formed. This is a disgusting maneuver that will greatly damage the rule of law.”