BigMo’s Blog

Politics and Economics in Israel

Size Does Matter!

Nearly six weeks after national elections, Israel finally has a government. It boasts a cabinet of 29 ministers and deputy ministers. Obviously, the Cabinet is the first step in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s economic stimulus plan. The printing industry is expected to boom when the orders for business cards and stationary come in.

For those of you who remain blissfully ignorant of Israeli politics, let me provide you with some background. The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, has 120 members. Members do not resign their seats when appointed to the executive branch, rather, they draw additional salary and get a car, a driver, and a staff. 120 members: of whom one-quarter are in the “executive” branch. You do the math. Don’t bother; it’s the largest cabinet in Israel’s history!

Of course, the problems facing the country are huge. First and foremost of which, does Ikea have a table that seats that many people? Can you imagine ordering Chinese? “That’s right, I said 8 Kung Pao Chickens, 6 Szechuan Beef, 4 Pad Thai, 5 Chicken Chow Mein, 2 of those pancake thingies and 4 orders of Sweet’n’Sour Pork” (for Yisrael Beitenu).

Amazingly enough, there is a minister for Sports. The national team’s recent outing in quarterfinal qualifying play for the World Cup was lack luster, but they did earn a draw. So there was no dire need to create a minister for sports. The part with the only member currently under investigation received responsibility for the Police.  As my Grandmother used to say, “WTF?!”

There are three ministers without direct ministerial responsibilities. This is despite the fact that nobody wanted to be the Minister of Health, which has the 3rd largest budget allotment after Defense and Education. Can you imagine? There wasn’t a single politician who had any idea of what to do with a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars? The guy under investigation must have stepped out of the room to place an order for Chinese food.

One appointee has responsibility for the Israel Broadcast Authority and, you guessed it, it’s not the Communications Minister. There’s a Minister for Infrastructure, which does not include Transportation – separate ministry. Apparently things like roads, bridges and tunnels are not infrastructure. You would think so, but you would be wrong.

Even I was temporarily appointed a minister, when one of Netanyahu’s aids mistook my e-mail for a job application. On second thought, I should have sent in an application. Let’s see . . . “Deputy Minister of Blogging and Pointing-out-the-Obvious” works. Oh, drat! There’s already a Minister for the Internet!

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Middle East | , , , , , | Leave a comment