Israel announces creation of new Homeland Security Ministry
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday announced the creation of a new Homeland Security Ministry, and tapped outgoing Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilna'i for the post, a government communique said, DPA reported
Vilna'i, a former army major-general, was one of four legislators and ministers who followed Defence Minister Ehud Barak in breaking away from the Labour Party on Monday and forming a new faction, Atzma'ut (Independence).
Three Labour ministers - Industry Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog and Minority Affairs Minister Avishai Braverman - who did not join Barak, resigned from the government. The cabinet met on Wednesday to approve their replacements.
In addition to Vilna'i, outgoing Deputy Industry Minister Orit Noked is slated to become agriculture minister, replacing Shalom Simhon, who becomes industry minister.
Noked and Simhon joined Vilna'i and Barak in bolting the Labour Party. The fifth member of Atzma'ut, first-term legislator Einat Wilf, is tipped to become chairwoman of a parliamentary committee.
In addition to approving the new government appointments, the cabinet on Wednesday also ratified the appointment of Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, from Netanyahu's Likud Party, as welfare minister.
The Knesset (parliament) was due to vote on the new appointments later Wednesday.