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February 17, 2019 10:08 am

Netanyahu Gives Up Role as Israel’s Foreign Minister

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israel’s new foreign minister, Yisrael Katz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday handed over his role as foreign minister to Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, giving up the portfolio he has held since 2015.

Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Katz as acting foreign minister came after an advocacy group, the Movement for Quality Government, went to court to press the prime minister to stop serving as foreign minister as well.

Government officials said Katz will hold the foreign affairs portfolio through the upcoming parliamentary election on April 9. Katz is a member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party,

In addition to the premiership, Netanyahu still holds the defense portfolio, which he assumed after his former coalition partner Avigdor Lieberman quit that post in November. Netanyahu is also health minister.

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The advocacy group that pushed for a new foreign minister had argued that Netanyahu’s workload was untenable and further harmed a Foreign Ministry beset by budget disputes.

Netanyahu’s defenders have noted his personal rapport with the US and Russian leaders and regular tours abroad.

“Together with the prime minister we will continue to lead the State of Israel‘s foreign policy to new achievements,” Katz, 63, said on Twitter.

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