Religion Magazine

the Puppet Minister That Doesn't Want to Be a Puppet Minister

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
The Minister of Housing is resigning. Again. Sort of. Not really. It is a different Minister of Housing than the one that resigned just a couple of months ago, but ok. 
Yaakov Litzman resigned from the role a little while back, shortly after taking office, because he was upset at the government for imposing a lockdown over Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Litzman then tried to work out an arrangement where someone else form a different party would agree to take on the Ministerial role in name only while allowing Litzman to be appointed as Deputy Minister and actually run the ministry. After some difficulty, he found a willing partner in Itzik Cohen of Shas. Cohen was appointed Minister of Housing about 3 weeks ago.
For whatever reason, Litzman has not yet taken on the post of Deputy Minister. but his people have been running the ministry anyway.
And now the Minister of Housing, Itzik Cohen, has announced his resignation.
I don't know if this is more or less dramatic than Litzman's resignation, but he is not resigning over chilul shabbos, and he isn't resigning over some new Corona rule or lockdown. In his official letter of resignation, Itzik Cohen explains that he is resigning because in this difficult time he feels he must dedicate all his time to the Finance Ministry in which he holds the position of Deputy Minister.
the puppet minister that doesn't want to be a puppet minister
According to the report on Kikar though, the real reason Cohen is resigning is that he refused to just be a puppet of Litzman in the ministry and wanted some actual authority, which Litzman was not willing to give him.   
Which is funny, if true, because the entire position given to him, and the entire country knew it, was to be Litzman's figurehead at the top so that Litzman could run the ministry from slightly lower down.
Well, this puts Litzman up a creek for a bit. He cannot be appointed Deputy Minister without a Minister above him. Netanyahu can't be the minister, as he used to, because of the indictments on him, and so far nobody else has been willing to take that position.
This also puts Gafni and Degel in a bind. It seems that recent experiences have strengthened Litzman's resolve to no longer be a minister. That means, in the next Knesset, whenever that might be, Litzman will likely choose the head of the Finance Committee, that Gafni has held onto for a while - according to internal agreements, after the next election Agudah gets first choice of position. While Aguda has recently been willing to take ministerial positions, via Litzman, Degel never has and says they will not. If Litzman will get first choice, he very well may want to avoid all these problems in the future and go back to the Finance Committee that he held before Gafni. And then Gafni has to take a lesser position or figure out how to be a minister-equivalent without being a minister, or become a minister (or arrange a deputy ministerial spot under a puppet minister).
This is getting messy.
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