Lapid Warns PM: No More 'Make-Work Ministries'

Yair Lapid will run to the High Court to stop the government from adding ministries, he said Thursday.

Yaakov Levi ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

Among the “rollbacks” the new government intends to make to policies implemented in the last three years is a lifting of the limits on the number of ministers.

In previous governments, led by both Likud and Labor, prospective coalition members were “rewarded” for their participation in the government with ministries, some of which were created specifically to attract a party to join a government.

In the previous government, Yesh Atid made the opposite demand as a condition of its joining the coalition – a commitment on the part of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to recruit more than 18 ministers, and the passage of legislation to that effect.

The main effect of the bill was to eliminate the office of “minister without portfolio,” and to force parties to accept less governmental responsibility. According Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, the change save the country hundreds of millions of shekels.

On Monday, however, prospective coalition members will meet to discuss amending the law. According to the law, a two thirds majority of MKs is needed to repeal it, but a simple majority vote in the Knesset can amend it for one government's term in case of “dire need.”

It is not clear how many, if any, ministries the government plans to add, but it is unlikely to be more than two or three at the most, since Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon and Shas's Aryeh Deri have both expressed opposition to increasing the number of ministries.

Commenting on the possibility of an amendment to the law, Lapid said Thursday that the change would be tantamount to “daylight robbery of the public till. This will increase the cost of government by hundreds of millions of shekels that needs to be invested in education, welfare, and health, not in patronage positions." 

"Changing an important law implemented in the last Knesset just because the Prime Minister needs more 'jobs for the boys' is an insult to democracy," Lapid asserted. I have already informed the Prime Minister that I will file an injunction with the High Court if he tries this.