Netanyahu’s new security cabinet is the most right-wing in Israel’s history

January 4, 2023 by Tamir Morag
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The new Israeli government on Tuesday appointed members of the incoming Security Cabinet, a ministerial committee in charge of outlining and implementing foreign and defence policy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (far left) leads a government meeting on Jan. 3, 2023. Photo by Government Press Office

The Security Cabinet will be headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. By law, it must include Defense Minister Yoav Galant, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

The government has the option to include more ministers than required by law.

Other members of the Security Cabinet will be Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who also serves as Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Health; Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, who is a former director of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet); Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, who is considered one of Netanyahu’s closest confidantes; Energy Minister Israel Katz, and Transportation Minister Miri Regev.

Of those additional members, all are members of Likud, except for Deri, who leads the religious Shas party.

Eli Vered Hazan, International Ambassador and Foreign Affairs Director for the Likud party, told the Tazpit Press Service, “The members of the new Cabinet reflect the dominance of Prime Minister Netanyahu in navigating Israel’s policy, and also reflect the election results.”

Said Hazan, “The main goals of Netanyahu are to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and to sign more peace agreements with Arab countries. Both of these will be handled by the new Cabinet.”

Former ministers told TPS that this is the most right-wing Security Cabinet in Israeli history.

“I am concerned about this Cabinet because it has too little moderates,” said Ofir Paz-Pines, Cabinet minister from the Labor party, in a conversation with TPS. “There are indeed a few moderates, but I am afraid the others will compete with each other who is more far-right.”

But Eitan Cabel, a government minister from the Labor party, told TPS that “the crucial decisions will be led by Netanyahu and his more moderate allies, Dermer, Deri and by the number of people on the Security Cabinet.

“I am troubled by the fact that there are almost no women in the Cabinet, and by the fact that it has relatively many members, which will make decision making more difficult.”

Another influential figure in the Cabinet, though not a voting member, is expected to be newly-appointed National Security Adviser Tzahi Hanegbi. Although Hanegbi holds an aggressive approach towards Iran, he is expected to be one of the moderate voices balancing out the far-right ministers Ben-Gvir and Smotrich.

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