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Netanyahu prepares to strengthen role of security cabinet

The Justice Ministry is preparing a draft amendment to Israel’s Basic law that would allow the prime minister to declare war or order a military operation that could lead to war with the approval only of the 10-member security cabinet.

The legislation is being advanced by Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Channel 2 report Sunday.

The bill would have the full cabinet authorize the security cabinet to make decisions about going to war or taking steps that could lead to war. And it would allow decisions to be made even if not all members of the security cabinet were available at the time.

The full cabinet would not need to be briefed on the decisions or the reasons for the decisions, according to the draft.

According to the report, the Justice Ministry believes the smaller decision-making body would limit the possibility of leaks.

Additionally, it would give greater authority to the security cabinet so that its members would take more responsibility for their decisions. This was a recommendation of the Amidror Report into the functioning of the security cabinet, reportedly added at the request of Netanyahu.

Last year, Netanyahu tasked a committee headed by former chief of the National Security Council, Major General (res.) Yaakov Amidror, with coming up with recommendations on ways to overhaul of the high-level security cabinet and improve intelligence-sharing among senior ministers. The move came amid heavy pressure by Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett who argued that the functioning of the security cabinet was deficient, and that these deficiencies were highlighted by the 2014 summer war with the Gaza Strip.

A State Comptroller report published this year found considerable fault in the way the security cabinet was managed during the 2014 conflict, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.

Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, near Gaza, in 2008 (photo credit: David…

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