Litzman Makes History: A Haredi-Ashkenazi Minister

Yaakov Litzman is sworn in as health minister, the first haredi Ashkenazi minister to serve in the Israeli government since 1952.

Hezki Baruch,

Litzman after swearing in.
Litzman after swearing in.
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90

Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) was sworn in Wednesday as Minister of Health. Eighty three MKs supported a resolution approving the appointment and 10 opposed it.

Due to a decades-old policy against full acceptance of the legitimacy of a non-religious Jewish state, haredi politicians have refrained from serving as ministers. Instead, when a coalition seeks to appoint a haredi to head a portfolio, he is named deputy minister but does not have a minister above him in the ranks.

This was the case with Litzman, but secularist Yesh Atid filed a motion to the High Court and demanded that he either become minister or resign. The court upheld the motion, and UTJ's Council of Sages decided to allow Litzman to become a fuly-fledged minister.

The Knesset also approved the appointment of Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) as Science and Technology minister instead of Danny Danon, who will be Israel's UN Ambassador. Danon has been replaced in the Knesset by Sharren Haskel.