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Religious Services Ministry goes on autopilot with no elected official to run it

14 2 17

Israel’s Religious Services Ministry was being run by an unelected civil servant as of Tuesday, after the government failed to garner the votes to reappoint former minister Matan Kahana earlier this year.

Interim Director-General Gal Shem-Tov, who only took office two weeks ago, now wields most of the powers of a minister in day-to-day operations, save for those specifically outlined in law as requiring ministerial approval. The government can designate those authorities to another minister for the time being.

This is not the first time that a ministry has entirely been led by a civil servant and not an elected official — a similar situation emerged last year in the Communications Ministry. The still fairly novel peculiarities of the arrangement will be navigated by the Religious Services Ministry’s legal adviser and the attorney general.

Kahana served as religious services minister until May, when he quit his post in a political maneuver aimed at shoring up the government’s control over the Knesset. The ministership was then automatically given to then-prime minister Naftali Bennett, while Kahana was appointed deputy minister, though he still effectively controlled the........

© The Times of Israel

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