Israel - History Made In The Knesset With Yaakov Litzman Sworn In As First Ashkenazi Minister Since 1952
Israel - On Wednesday, history was made in the Knesset when MK Yaakov Litzman was sworn in as Minister of Health, making him the first Charedi Ashkenazi Jew to hold a minister’s position in the Israeli government since 1952.
Litzman, chairman of Agudath Israel, was confirmed following an 83-10 vote, but his appointment was not without opposition.
Facing a decades-old policy that prevents Haredis from serving as minister without fully accepting the legitimacy of a non-religious Jewish state, the title of Deputy Minister has been traditionally been attached to those serving in government.
Historically, Haredi deputy ministers operated essentially as ministers and without anyone bearing that title above them.
But in Litzman’s case, a motion was filed before the High Court by secularists Yesh Atid insisting that Litzaman either take the full title of minister or withdraw his name.
After upholding the motion, the High Court presented Litzman with the option, but UTJ’s Council of Torah Sages of Agudath Israel intervened and made an allowance for Litzman to become a full-fledged minister.
MK Merav Michaeli said in response to Litzman’s swearing in, “The appointment of Minister Litzman shows good progress of good governance and in the religious parties. I only wish that this progress will continue and that the next Knesset will step up and consider more Askenazi candidates”
Yesh Atid’s MK Ofer Shelah said in response to his party’s opposition of Litzman, “We are gathered to celebrate the obvious, that authority includes formal acceptance of responsibility, and self-evident that the role of the minister is similar to the position of Deputy Minister. So we went to court.”
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