First female Ethiopian-born and ultra-orthodox Israeli cabinet ministers sworn in

May 18, 2020

 

CONTENTS

1. First Ethiopian-born female Israeli cabinet minister
2. First female ultra-orthodox Israeli cabinet minister
3. Right-wing excluded from new largely centrist Israeli government
4. Sharing power, although much too big
5. Something nicer

 

FIRST ETHIOPIAN-BORN FEMALE ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER APPOINTED

[Notes by Tom Gross]

Member of parliament Pnina Tamano-Shata (pictured above) yesterday became Israel’s first Ethiopian-born cabinet minister, when the new Israeli government was sworn in. She will be Minster for Immigration and Integration.

Tamano-Shata was born in the Ethiopian village of Wuzaba in 1981 and came to Israel in 1984 as part of the rescue of thousands or persecuted and trapped Ethiopian Jews, known as Operation Moses.

In order to reach Israel, Tamano-Shata, then aged 3, together with her father and five brothers, walked to Sudan, where they and thousands of others were airlifted to the Jewish state in a secret operation organized by the Mossad.

In Israel, she qualified as a lawyer before entering politics. She has been a member of the Knesset since 2012, originally for the Yesh Atid party.

 

FIRST FEMALE ULTRA-ORTHODOX ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER APPOINTED

Omer Yankelevich, who is an ultra-Orthodox Jewish resident of the central Israeli town of Beit Shemesh, has become the first female “haredi” Israeli cabinet minister after she was appointed Diaspora Affairs minister yesterday.

She is a member of Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party.

She was educated in the ultra-Orthodox school system in both Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, and in the northern English town of Gateshead.

She also obtained a BA in education from Cambridge University, and a Masters in law from Bar Ilan University. She is known for her pluralism.

 

RIGHT-WING EXCLUDED FROM NEW CENTRIST ISRAELI GOVERNMENT

The new Israeli national unity government that was sworn into office yesterday is a largely centrist government comprising of three parties, the center-right Likud, the centrist Blue and White, and the center-left Labor party (as well as two religious parties whose influence has been diminished).

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has excluded the nationalist rightwing Yemina Party from his new government.

As Israeli political commentator Anshel Pfeffer noted in the left wing Haaretz newspaper:

“Netanyahu has been trying for years to crush Israel’s religious nationalist parties. He’s final done it – and we all benefit.”

 

SHARING POWER, ALTHOUGH MUCH TOO BIG

With 34 cabinet ministers, the new Israeli government will be the largest in the country’s history, much to the consternation of many Israelis, after Benny Gantz insisted on being granted ministerial portfolios for almost all his Knesset faction. To do this, Netanyahu and Gantz had to create new ministries and portfolios.

The new Israeli government ends a lengthy political stalemate, dating from December 2018, 508 days ago, which three general elections since then had failed to resolve.

It extends Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record-setting tenure as prime minister until November 17, 2021 after which the centrist former army chief Benny Gantz will become prime minister, as part of a rotation deal.

 

BEAUTIFUL SONG, INCLUDING WITH THE FAUDA ACTRESS

This beautiful rendition of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” was performed by Israelis in English, Hebrew and Arabic, on behalf of a medical charity:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH4UA_Ocf4o

 

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All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.