Israeli Cabinet Approves New Foreign Minister

The Cabinet table at the Knesset plenum during the debate on the continuation of the war in the Gaza Strip and the issue of the abductees: Eli Cohen (L), PM Binyamin Netanyahu (2L), Benny Gantz (2R) and Israel Katz (R). Jerusalem, Dec 25, 2023. Video by Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS
By Pesach Benson • 31 December, 2023


Jerusalem, 31 December, 2023 (TPS) — The Israeli Cabinet approved Israel Katz to become Foreign Minister, replacing Eli Cohen as part of a rotation agreement made when the government was formed in 2022.

Katz, currently serves as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. The two will swap Cabinet portfolios. The move requires Knesset approval, which is expected. Both Katz and Cohen are members of Likud.

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The foreign minister is nominally responsible for Israel’s relations with other countries and representing the Jewish state in international forums. But in his previous term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu preferred to be more hands-on directing Israel’s foreign relations, keeping the portfolio for himself most of the time.

Katz is the son of Romanian Holocaust survivors. The 68-year-old entered politics in 1996, and by 2003, he rose to Minister of Agriculture. Since then, Katz has also served as Minister of Transport, Intelligence, and more recently of Finance. Between Feb. 2019-May 2020, Katz served as Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister.

The 51-year-old Cohen is an accountant by training who entered politics with the centrist Kulanu party in 2015. Between 2017-2021, he served as Minister of Economy and then as Minister of Intelligence. He followed Kulanu into Likud when the parties merged in 2020. Cohen also lectures at Tel Aviv University.

Cohen will continue to sit on the Security Cabinet.


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