Israel's 31st Gov't Sworn In

In a vote of 65 against 49, with four Knesset Members absent, Israel’s 31st government was approved Thursday evening, with a whopping 25 ministers.

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Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 10:26


The government is as follows:
Prime Minister – Ehud Olmert (Kadima)
Foreign Minister/Vice Prime Minister (becomes PM if Olmert is incapacitated) – Tzipi Livni (Kadima)
Defense Minister/Deputy Prime Minister – Amir Peretz (Labor)
Justice Minister – Chaim Ramon (Kadima)
Finance Minister – Avraham Hirschson (Kadima)
Public Security Minister – Avraham Dichter (Kadima)
Transportation Minister/Deputy Prime Minister – Shaul Mofaz (Kadima)
Trade & Labor Minister/Deputy Prime Minister – Eli Yishai (Shas)
Communications Minister – Ariel Atias (Shas)
Internal Affairs Minister – Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima)
National Infrastructure Minister – Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor)
Health Minister – Yaakov Ben-Yizri (Retiree Party)
Education Minister – Yuli Tamir (Labor)
Immigrant Absorption Minister – Ze’ev Boim (Kadima)
Retiree Affairs Minister – Rafi Eitan (Retiree Party)
Environmental Affairs Minister – Gideon Ezra (Kadima)
Tourism Minister – Yitzchak Herzog (Labor)
Negev & Galilee Development Minister – Shimon Peres (Kadima)
Culture & Sport Minister – Ofir Pines (Labor)
Housing & Construction Minister – Meir Sheetrit (Kadima)
Agriculture Minister – Shalom Simchon (Labor)
Minister-Without-Portfolio – Eitan Cabel (Labor)
Minister-Without-Portfolio – Yitzchak Edri (Shas)
Minister-Without-Portfolio – Yaakov Edri (Kadima)
Minister-Without-Portfolio – Meshulam Nahari (Shas)

The new ministers pledged their allegiance to the State of Israel one by one – preceded by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert was unable to sign with his pen, however, and was given another, which also didn't work. In all, the new prime minister went through four pens before he successfully affixed his name to the pledge to act in Israel's best interests as the head of its government.

MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union-NRP), a member of the Opposition, shared his evaluation of the new government with Arutz-7's daily newsmagazine.

Regarding Education Minister Yuli Tamir (Labor-Meimad): "I don't see her taking any action with regard to enriching Jewish values, which are the central basis of the education of Israel's children," Hendel said. He added that he had heard that Tamir is planning to make explaining Prime Minister Olmert's withdrawal from Judea and Samaria one of the main aspects of her work in the Education Ministry. "I don't know what she will explain there – that it was an overwhelming success that they expelled Jews from Gaza and that missiles aren't falling on Ashkelon – and therefore we are widening the expulsion? I don't get it…"

With regard to Justice Minister Haim Ramon (Kadima), Hendel said, "Haim Ramon is a sympathetic man, gentle, with a sense of humor and lots of energy – but make no mistake – Haim Ramon is the spinal cord, and not Olmert or anyone else, of all the most dangerous machinations of the left."

"Due to his fundamental make-up and lack of ideology, it is very, very hard for me to see him in such an influential position."

Hendel is slightly optimistic however, with the appointment of Defense Minister Amir Peretz, despite his assertions that his political ideology follows the Beilin-Ramon line. Hendel argues that Peretz can not possibly be a worse defense minister than Shaul Mofaz. "Mofaz was a complete yes-man," Hendel said. "His opposition to the Disengagement lasted one week – until Arik [Sharon] called him and threatened to fire him. The next morning he was one of the enthusiastic backers of the Disengagement and the results are known."