Israel’s High Court ruled on Sunday that the current arrangement in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu holds the Health Ministry portfolio while Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) effectively runs the ministry, is illegal.
The judges gave the government 60 days to appoint a full-time Health Minister, saying that allowing a deputy minister to serve as a minister was not legal, despite numerous precedents.
The decision stressed that the intent was not to shed doubt on Rabbi Litzman’s personal capabilities, but only on the legality of his title.
“We will respect the High Court’s decision,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a terse response.
The UTJ has traditionally not accepted posts on the ministerial level, and no change in the policy can occur without approval by the Council of Torah Sages.
Accordingly, Rabbi Litzman said on Sunday night, “We will study the court’s decision and the matter will be brought before the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah for review.”
The court ruling came after Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, filed a complaint at the High Court about the long-standing arrangement.