Israel appoints new health minister to replace corruption-suspected Netanyahu

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-29 23:25:29|Editor: yan
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- A Jewish ultra-Orthodox lawmaker was appointed on Sunday as Israeli health minister, succeeding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was forced to resign from the post amid corruption indictment.

The cabinet approved Yaakov Litzman, leader of the ultra-Orthodox party of United Torah Judaism, as the new health minister.

Litzman previously served as the deputy health minister.

The move came after the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, an anti-corruption watchdog, petitioned the Supreme Court to order Netanyahu to step down from his ministerial positions following the corruption indictment against him.

Netanyahu is expected to announce by Tuesday which lawmakers will take over the other ministries he still holds, including the ministries of agriculture, welfare, and diaspora.

Netanyahu is widely considered one of the most centralist prime ministers in Israeli history.

Earlier in 2019, he stepped down from the porfolios of defense and foreign affairs in order to appoint two of his coalition partners.

In December, the Israeli longest-serving prime minister was officially indicted for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate corruption scandals.

He denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are part of "a witch-hunt."

Netanyahu is struggling for his political survival after failing to form a coalition government twice. However, he is likely to stay in office at least until March 2 when the next elections will be held.

The unprecedented elections will be the third time Israelis would cast their ballots in fewer than a year, as a political deadlock has paralyzed the Israeli political system over the past months.