Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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26 Adar II 5765 - April 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











MK Rabbi Ravitz Takes Up Post as Deputy Minister of Welfare

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz assumed the post of deputy minister of welfare, serving in practice as minister since the Ministry of Welfare has no minister.

There are two aspects to the position of minister where there is a portfolio. The minister has executive responsibility for the ministry involved (the "portfolio"), and he is also a member of the Cabinet and thus a full participant in the government of the State aside from his ministry. The prime minister is officially the minister of welfare, but it is agreed that he is not actively involved in the office so that as far as the ministry is concerned Rabbi Ravitz is effectively the minister, that is, he has full executive responsibility for the ministry. With regard to the Cabinet, Rabbi Ravitz is not a member. For ideological reasons, Degel HaTorah refuses to be part of any current Israeli government.

In a meeting he held with ministry directors, Rabbi Ravitz said he was accepting a very weighty responsibility as head of one of the most important ministries. "I intend to be a full-time welfare minister and to [work wholeheartedly] both for those receiving care and workers," he said. "It says in our sources `Olom chessed yiboneh' and `Olom chessed nivneh.' This means the world was built imperfectly in order for man to rectify it through acts of kindness and this the Welfare Ministry does," he told the ministry staff.

In addition to Rabbi Ravitz, six other deputy ministers were appointed last week by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and entered office: G. Gamliel as deputy minister of agriculture, R. Avraham as deputy minister of the interior, M. Solodkin as deputy minister of immigrant absorption, Eli Aflalo as deputy minister of commerce and trade, Rabbi Shmuel Halpert (Agudas Yisroel) as deputy minister of transportation and Magli Wahava as interim deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

Several MKs led by MK Effi Eitam called for an investigation of "giving and receiving bribes and breach of faith" by the Prime Minister in connection with the new appointments. Opponents are also calling on Attorney General Mani Mazuz to look into suspicions of attempted bribery by Sharon regarding his initiative to bring new ministers and deputy ministers into his government in exchange for their loyalty in supporting his policies.

In addition to the deputy ministers, Sharon wanted to appoint three full ministers, but the Knesset refused to approve them.


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