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      Netanyahu Empowerment 'Not Linked to Iran Strike'

      Prime Minister gains procedural powers; Cabinet Secretary tells press: "Changes bear no relevance to fateful decisions."
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/12/2012, 7:06 PM

      Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet session
      Binyamin Netanyahu at cabinet session
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Government Secretary Tzvi Hauser denied Sunday that the expected strike on Iran's nuclear Holocaust program is behind the government's decision to give Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu more power to streamline the decision-making process.

      In a press conference after the cabinet session that approved the changes, Hauser said: "Over the years, instructions and directions were added to the government regulations in a patchwork fashion, and we succeeded two years ago in drawing up a new and updated set of regulations."

      "The changes approved today have no relevance to fateful decisions," he said, in a reference to the Iran situation. All of the changes were made for the sake of "the Prime Minister's ability to govern."

      He added, "It is unacceptable that because of a majority on this committee or another, the Prime Minister will be stuck procedurally."

      All of the ministers except three – Ministers Avigdor Lieberman, Yitzchak Aharonovich and Shalom Simchon – voted in favor of the changes.

      Labor party Shelly Yechimovich criticized the request for changes as anti-democratic and warned that granting the Prime Minister the powers he requests would lead the country to a “one-man government.”

      The changes are the first changes in Cabinet operations since the re-establishment of Israel in 1948. They impose more order in setting the Cabinet agenda and in voting procedures for Cabinet ministers in absentia.