Next Week: Acting Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz

May 11, 2012  

Newly dubbed Vice Premier and Minister Without Portfolio Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) is wasting no time in trying out Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chair.

Mofaz will serve as acting Prime Minister when Netanyahu flies to Prague for a two-day visit next Thursday.

The coalition agreement that ushered Kadima into Netanyahu’s Likud-run government stipulated that Mofaz fill the largely symbolic role when the Prime Minister is abroad.

The title of vice premier is has no legal status, whereas the title of vice prime minister – also symbolic – allows for succession without elections should the prime minister be incapacitated.

For Mofaz the position of vice premier means a reduced protection detail, a less prestigious car and a reduction in diplomatic precedence. As opposition leader, visiting foreign leaders were required to meet with him. As vice premier, they are not.

Mofaz explained his decision to enter the coalition as “a historic opportunity to make meaningful steps for the good of the public,” and dismissed criticism saying “there are times when the leadership must make decisions even if they seem unpopular.”

Kadima’s joining the government gives Netanyahu a 94-seat super-coalition with a stated mission of replacing the Tal Law and restructuring Israel’s electoral system and government in such a way as to “provide stability.”

“In my view, it would have been irresponsible to miss this opportunity,” Mofaz said. “The responsibility is on me, and me alone. Let me be judged by my results – I will stand the test.”

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