Israeli parliament approves appointments of new ministers (2)

13:21, January 20, 2011      

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The political deal was officially approved in a special cabinet meeting held earlier Wednesday. "The Government is being strengthened today. It is becoming more stable," Netanyahu said before the session, according to a government press release. "I think that they (the newly-appointed ministers) are very appropriate for their positions because of their experience and their abilities," he said.

According to the coalition agreement between Netanyahu and Barak, the latter will retain the post of defense minister. Former Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon will head the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, after Binyamin Ben-Eliezer resigned the post, and will also be placed in charge of the Minority Affairs portfolio.

Matan Vilna'i, Barak's deputy at the Defense Ministry, will be promoted to head the Homeland Security Ministry, a new ministry whose creation was announced at the cabinet meeting held Wednesday. Parliamentarian Orit Noked, Ben-Eliezer's former deputy, is the incoming agriculture minister.

Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, a veteran Likud politician, was placed in charge of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry for the next three months, following the resignation of Isaac Herzog from the post.

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