Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu appoints new foreign minister

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/US State Department

Feb. 18 (UPI) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Israel Katz as the country’s acting foreign minister Sunday.

Katz, who is Israel’s intelligence and transportation minister, issued a statement on Twitter, expressing his gratitude to Netanyahu for appointing him as foreign minister two months after he announced he would give up the position in government.

“I thank the prime minister for the trust, and I am pleased to head the ministry. We will continue to promote and lead Israel’s foreign policy to further achievements, alongside the prime minister,” Katz wrote.

Since Netanyahu came to power as the head of the country in 2009, the position of foreign minister has been filled by himself since 2015 or Avigdor Lieberman.

As acting foreign minister, Katz will serve a 3-month term and his appointment won’t be subject to approval by Israel’s parliament.

Katz placed third among candidates and first among serving ministers in the country’s ruling Likud Party primaries ahead of elections in April.

The Movement for Quality Government, which filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice opposing the number of ministerial positions Netanyahu held, welcomed the move although it criticized Netanyahu for only appointing a new minister under an order by the High Court.

“In our opinion, it is inappropriate that the prime minister came to a situation where he held such a large number of important portfolios, among them foreign and defense … we hope this unacceptable situation will not happen again,” it said.

In addition, Netanyahu is the health minister.

Also Sunday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki canceled a trip to Israel after Netanyahu said “Poles co-operated with the Germans” during the Holocaust.

Netanyahu’s office later issued a clarification, stating that he “spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland.”

President Andrzej Duda said that if Netanyahu had said what was first reported “Israel would not be a good place” for the leaders of the countries to meet.


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